The police have cracked a racket involving an organised gang specialised in stealing vehicles from car parks, particularly at leading Colombo private hospitals.
The gang had used, what DIG Jayantha Wickremaratne termed as, a master key bought from Singapore to start parked vehicles and drive them away.
Wickremaratne, in charge of Crimes, Criminal Intelligence, Organised Crime and the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB), said that the Special Crimes Operations Unit initiated an investigation immediately after receiving complaints from a leading private hospital.
According to him, unidentified persons had driven three vehicles from the vehicle park of the Horton Place hospital. ?We were initially baffled. Then we received complaints from two other leading private hospitals,? he said.
The police had also investigated the possibility of private security personnel manning the entry and exit points of the ?raided? vehicle parks being part of the racket. ?once we ruled out that possibility we suspected a new ruse,? he said. Subsequently investigators recognised the gang?s modus operandi and apprehended two of the thieves, he said, while revealing the two suspects had rented an apartment at Kesbewa. One of them had bought the master key in Singapore during a recent visit.
Investigators are hunting for three more suspects. DIG Wickremaratne emphasised that the gang was not involved with the Colombo underworld (organised crime).
Police had so far recovered three vans, a motor cycle and a Chinese-built T 56 assault rifle with 52 rounds of ammunition. Wickremaratne expressed the
belief that they would be able to track down approximately 20 missing vehicles on information provided by the gang.
Wickremaratne said that law enforcement agencies were on the offensive against organised crime.
Last year?s high profile assassination of Colombo High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya had triggered a relentless police campaign against the organised gangs with law enforcement officers killing about two dozen gangsters.
Wickremaratne said that they had complied what he termed as albums of known criminals. ?This would help us immensely,? he said.