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DoJ Bares Car Theft Modus Operandi

Amid the growing cases of carjacking and car theft, the Department of Justice (DoJ) has called the public to be more vigilant in protecting their vehicles from car thieves, particularly in Metro Manila.

Based on the 2011 report conducted by the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group, an advisory has been prepared to alert car owners of the three popular car theft modus operandi.

Reports claimed many carjacking syndicates operate by taking unattended vehicles while being parked. Others use violence by gunpoint with intimidation. Some are involved in failure to return cases or those rental cars that are never returned after use.

DoJ Secretary Leila de Lima said in a signed advisory that several car theft modus operandi are usually committed as a crime of opportunity where victims have slim chance of resistance.

She advised the car owners to safeguard their vehicles by exercising vigilance, being conscious of the presence of car thieves surrounding the vicinity of their parked vehicles and investing in safety gadgets like car alarms and advanced wheel locks.

Motorists are told not to park in dimly lit areas and avoid talking to strangers like hitchhikers or those who seemingly dress like police enforcers. Awareness of the latest car theft strategies, de Lima said, is a major factor to track down car thieves. She said reporting car theft incident immediately at the first opportunity will help to pin down the thieves.

The DoJ secretary noted motorists should be careful when dealing with carjackers as most of them have co-conspirators who are ready to back up once the victim resists.

De Lima said there are reported cases of car thieves wearing fake police suits and licensed plates while some carrying modern rifles. She added many of these criminals seem to be well-funded with high-tech getaway cars and secured hideouts.

When convicted, car thieves will face 14 to 17 years in prison. In cases where the victim is murdered or raped while stealing the vehicle, the criminal will be sentenced to 20 to 40 years in jail.