For years, Katwe policing division has been known as the leading car theft zone in Kampala City, but it is now replaced by Old Kampala and Kawempe Police divisions.
Incidents of motor vehicle thefts captured by Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTVs) and Flying Squad’s intelligence led operations show six cars were stolen every month in Old Kampala and Kawempe policing areas.
Out of 880 cars stolen countrywide in 2020, Old Kampala had 57 cases while Kawempe recorded 54 crimes of motor vehicle theft. Flying Squad commander, Senior Superintendent of Police, Godwin Turamye, says with the help of CCTV footage police have so far recovered 291 vehicles and the hunt is still ongoing.
Turamye has since connected motor vehicle thefts and robberies to various groups of which one is led by one Abdu Karim whose area of operation is City Centre, Old Kampala and Mukono.
Flying Squad indicates that Karim was first connected to the theft of Toyota Canter UBG 002 T in March last year. As police was still searching for him, he was again connected to the theft of a Toyota Mark II UAT 502T which he had allegedly stolen alongside a one Gideon Namanya.
“Following Police operations, UAT 502T Toyota Mark II was recovered from the home of Abdu Karim,” Turamye indicates in his report submitted to CID.
Police have since discovered that Karim also calls himself Ndimukaga while his accomplice Namanya sometimes calls himself Gideon Tumusiime. The group is also linked to the theft of Toyota Premio UAQ 446W which police recovered and arrested Karim, Namanya and two others Paul Ssempala and William Ssali.
“These people trail drivers especially those with new cars. They grab owners in parkings or use master keys to open and take away cars,” a Flying Squad detective said.
Outside Kampala City, places such as Nansana municipality, Entebbe municipality and Kira municipality also register a minimum of three car thefts every month. The Entebbe and Nansana gang is comprised of Aisha Zawedde and Muzafalu Makanga and four others who are still at large.
Zawedde and Makanga were arrested when police tracked their movement using CCTV cameras. A suspected stolen vehicle was tracked and recovered from Bwerenga Kakindu village, Katabi town council.
“One of the vehicles had a tracking device and it was located to in areas of Bwerenga Kakindu village, Katabi Town Council in Wakiso District. Police conducted an operation and recovered the vehicle in the premises of Zawedde Aisha and Makanga Muzafalu. At the same premises, motor vehicle registration number UAR 356T Toyota Nadia silver in color was recovered,” Turamye indicates in a report.
Police have since unearthed the linkages between Karim and Zawedde gang. CCTV video show Karim driving Toyota Nadia 356T before it was recovered at Makanga home in Entebbe. Investigations have so far revealed that Karim, Namanya and Tumusiime earlier cited in another robbery gang have often interacted with Zawedde group.
Drivers have been warned against leaving their car keys at washing bays since criminals are associating with boys and men at such places to duplicate cars.
“These boys rush and make duplicate keys or they place the key in soap and they make a duplicate using that,” a detective adding “They also tamper with alarms in these cars and drivers do not know. Be careful enough and wait for your car when it is being washed.”
Other cars police are still tracing include UBD 190Y Toyota Wish stolen from Seeta by one Namanya Gideon alias Tumusiime Kanyankore.
Another gang is reportedly led by Ben Kawooya who was arrested after he was captured by CCTVs in Nansana. Upon arrest, police searched Kawooya’s home and recovered two cars that had earlier been reported stolen Toyota Premio UAT 365S and a Prado TX UAP 579Y.
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