SAPS Heidelberg has cautioned car theft victims and fellow uniform bearers of a bogus police officer (Lieutenant Colonel or Brigadier) from the Vehicle Identification Section (VIP) that has been phoning the CSC, MIC offices, the police detection cells or other offices where the SAPS computer system is accessible, to obtain confidential information relating to stolen vehicles.
Capt Thivhulawi Tshilate from SAPS Heidelberg reiterated that no information is allowed to be provided telephonically and that the request should immediately be dealt with by the station commander.
“SAPS Heidelberg was the latest target of the bogus police officer who referred to himself as Lt Col Manama or Brig Manama from VIS,” Capt Tshilate explained.
The purpose of the call is to acquire information on the owner of a stolen motor vehicle. As soon as the caller is provided with the required information, he would then phone the victim and inform him that his vehicle was recovered by the police. The caller advises the victim that the vehicle will be delivered back to him by a well-known towing company, at a fixed cost.
“Bank account details of the so-called towing company is given to the victim and delivery of his vehicle is promised upon receipt of proof of payment,” Capt Tshilate warned and added that once the payment is made, the caller disappears with the money.
What needs to happen if the car is recovered after being stolen:
In an instance where the stolen car is recovered, the investigating officer in charge of the case will notify the vehicle owner that the car has been found. Soon thereafter, the car owner will be asked to go and identify the vehicle at the police impound where it is kept after being recovered.
The vehicle owner then needs to inform their car insurance provider that the car has been recovered.
Once identified, verified and the investigation has been finalised, the insurer can arrange for the vehicle to be taken to a panel beater to obtain a repair cost quote.
A vehicle assessor will be appointed to assess the damage on the vehicle at the panel beaters and put together a report upon receiving a quote for repairs.
The insurance provider will process repair requirements for the vehicle based on the assessor’s report.
Once the repairs are complete, the registered owner of the vehicle is required to take the car for police clearance.
In order to get police clearance, the car owner will have to obtain a printed Request for Police Clearance form from a Motor Vehicle Registration office to verify the car’s record.
If the vehicle is deemed irreparable or uneconomical to repair by the assessor, the insurer will have to inform the insured about the write-off process.
The vehicle will officially be deregistered at the license department.
There are some cases when the car is found long after a settlement has already been paid out by the insurance provider to the client. The recovered car will become the insurer’s property – this process is referred to as subrogation.