Times caption: Stolen vehicles, worth £728,000, included Range Rovers, Mercedes and a Porsche [UNIVERSAL NEWS AND SPORT]
Some men let the side down. In today’s Times:
A criminal who handled stolen cars got his comeuppance after calling the police when his own vehicle was stolen.
Chirag Patel, 39, asked police to investigate when his Porsche was stolen on January 31, 2015.
When officers searched his home in Croydon, south London, they found five stolen cars in his underground garage. There was also a suspicious collection of 26 car keys. Nine of the keys had been stolen from Jaguar Land Rover’s factory in Solihull in the West Midlands.
Patel, who claimed to operate a legitimate car-rental business, was sentenced to eight years in prison after further investigation found a total of 19 stolen cars including a Porsche Cayenne, Range Rovers and Mercedes. The total value was estimated at £728,000.
The Porsche that Patel reported as stolen was bought legitimately.
His collection of cars had all been stolen in “keyless thefts” across London between October 2012 and January 2015, the Metropolitan police said. Officers searched through the accounts of his car rental business and found £440,000 in “unexplained cash deposits”. Police also found a laptop that had been reported stolen from an address in Streatham.
Patel was arrested 20 days after his phone call, on February 19, 2015. He was found guilty of conspiracy to handle stolen goods and possession of criminal property after a five-week trial at Croydon crown court and was jailed for eight years.
Police said that Patel had tried to keep officers away from his home by giving details of his parents’ address. “When he finally gave his own address, officers attended the property as part of their investigation into the stolen car,” the Met said. “Here they discovered a number of high-value vehicles in the basement car park. Officers identified that one of cars had a personalised number plate identical to one seen earlier on a vehicle outside Patel’s parents’ address.
“Further inquiries by officers established that the five vehicles in the car park had false number plates and all were later confirmed to have been stolen.”
The Met said that Patel had been running an “off-the-books” car rental business in which he loaned vehicles to his friends and business contacts.
“The vehicles had been stolen by unknown individuals during burglaries and keyless thefts across London between October 2012 and January 2015 and were stored at or near addresses owned by Patel and his family, or with associates who looked after the vehicles for him or rented them from him. The identities of the cars were concealed using legitimate insurance details of vehicles which had been written off.”
Acting Detective Sergeant Billy Clough said that Patel, who claimed to be a legitimate car rental operator, was motivated by “sheer greed”.
He added: “He even attempted to convince the jury that he was a legitimate businessman who had simply been unlucky in obtaining such a vast quantity of stolen items, but the jury saw through this and convicted him of being the key player in a significant criminal enterprise. I hope that this sentence sends a message that those involved in this type of organised criminality will be pursued robustly.”
Judge Peter Gower told the court that Patel was caught because of the skill of PC Andy Garland, who identified the first stolen car.
“It was his sharp eyes and investigative nose and approach which first spotted a stolen vehicle and set this investigation in motion and he receives my formal commendation,” the judge said.
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