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The Peugeot 3 008 are obviously popular on the automotive market in Africa, and this small network of traffickers, specializing in the theft of this specific model, had grasped the trend.
Five men, aged 27 to 37, were arrested on Tuesday in Clichy-la-Garenne (Hauts-de-Seine), as well as in Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas de Calais). They are suspected of having set up a vast traffic since last May between Yvelines and Belgium. The stolen vehicles were then transported to West Africa.
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In total, the Yvelines departmental security investigators estimate that thirteen cars were thus stolen and illegally exported to The Gambia. The damage amounts to more than 400,000 euros.
It was in Sartrouville that this long investigation started. On May 22, the police discovered two Peugeot 3008s in Sartrouville, rue Lakanal, in the heart of the city of India. Two vehicles which had been declared stolen in Noisy-le-Roi and Bailly a few days earlier. The police then install a beacon on the cars to monitor their movements.
The head end of the network identified
This is how the two 3008s were noticed five days later on the A1 motorway towards the north of France. Departmental security investigators notably spot a suspicious truck blocked at the Tournai toll booth in Belgium. The heavy goods vehicle is driven by a Bulgarian driver who will be exonerated. The delivery note, on the other hand, mentions a 28-year-old Gambian as the principal and makes it possible to understand that the two cars are leaving for his country of origin via the port of Antwerp.
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This man at the heart of the business lives in Clichy-la-Garenne (Hauts-de-Seine), with a wife and child. And it seems to move a lot in the north of France. It is he who seems to manage the orders and the export logistics of stolen cars. He is placed under surveillance. Investigators use CCTV footage and carry out numerous telephone interceptions which identify his accomplices, all members of the African diaspora.
In the Paris region, a 29-year-old man is its main supplier. "Although wearing an electronic bracelet from the Ministry of Justice, he actively participated in trafficking, not hesitating to travel to Germany to troubleshoot a stolen vehicle," said a source close to the case. The police identify a second accomplice but also the sponsor of one of the expeditions.
They thwarted the geolocation systems
Their method of flying is simple and efficient. They spot the parked cars, force open the door and start it with an electronic device. They then park it in a street or in a parking lot for a few days to thwart the geolocation systems. Each stolen car earns the team between 4000 and 5000 euros. Between the end of June and the end of August, five convoys were thus routed to Antwerp.
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Several events then support the investigators' research. In September, the Belgian police arrested a Calais accomplice surprised with, in his possession, two Peugeot 3 008 stolen in France. "The Belgian police had just intercepted four days earlier two containers each containing three stolen vehicles", adds the same source. At the beginning of last week, the importer was arrested in Boulogne-Billancourt at the wheel of a Renault Twingo, stolen in Tourcoing (North). The police discovered a GPS wave jammer on him as well as an OBD connection box, two tools used by car thieves.
The criminals confess
Finally Tuesday, the investigators decide to close their net on the rest of the network. The suspects were taken into police custody at the security premises in Viroflay for theft in an organized gang. During the first hours of their interrogation, the perpetrators succinctly confessed. They should be presented to the Versailles examining magistrate on Thursday during the day.
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