Police and insurance companies have launched separate investigations into reports of a lucrative car parts sales racket involving stolen vehicles.
Not only are thieves stealing cars and stripping them down for parts in an underground market, some legitimate car dealers are also requesting that the criminals assist them in restocking spare parts, Barbados TODAY understands.
Public Relations Officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force Acting Inspector Roland Cobbler confirmed that lawmen were investigating reports that vehicles were being stolen for parts.
“We have had intelligence that some vehicles were being sold in parts . . . and we are also conducting investigations into those things as well. There is intelligence that is suggesting that cars are not only being sold as whole cars, but there are some stock shops which are even selling parts of the vehicles,” Cobbler told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
However, the police spokesman could not confirm other reports that some legitimate car dealers were also involved in the scam.
However, the insurance industry has served notice that any car dealership which may be involved in the racket will not get away with it if caught.
“It is not something we were aware of . . . we would now have to carry out some level of investigation,” Michael Holder, the president of the General Insurance Association of Barbados (GIAB) told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
“We would have to tread very carefully because we can’t accuse anybody without any evidence. It is a matter we would [also] have to bring to the attention of the police if we get some names. We are hearing there are people, but we have no names at this stage.”
Holder also warned that if evidence emerges that any legitimate car dealership was collaborating with thieves to restock their stores, “no general insurance company would be dealing with that company. We will not be.”
It is understood that thieves are targeting such makes as Toyota Corollas and Suzuki Swifts.