A Dunedin-based trio behind an alleged ''chop shop'' near
Mosgiel used social media to taunt the owner of a stolen
vehicle they dismantled, police say.
An early-morning search of a Kaikorai Valley flat yesterday
led to the arrest of three people in relation to the theft of
high-performance cars from Dunedin and Timaru this month.
A 27-year-old woman and two 22-year-old men were charged with
the theft of six vehicles, with more charges likely, Sergeant
Chris McLellan, of the North Dunedin Proactive Policing Team,
The arrests follow Tuesday's raid of a property near Mosgiel
allegedly used as a ''chop shop'' - for the dismantling of
cars for the illegal sale of parts - and where the remains of
six performance vehicles and two flatbed trucks were
Sgt McLellan said the 22-year-old alleged ringleader of the
group complied with police requests, but the woman was
aggressive and the second man ''fancied his running
He was quickly apprehended, thanks to eagle-eyed members of
the public, he said.
More car parts were uncovered around the basement flat of a
Kaikorai Valley Rd address, and it was possible dozens of
vehicles had been targeted by the group over the past month,
''They have been highly active, and this has been a nightly
occurrence over the last three weeks.''
Police said the trio, who were linked to a variety of
addresses and had ''loose'' gang connections, had targeted
vehicles in Dunedin and Timaru.
The group was allegedly behind the theft of a Dunedin vehicle
on Monday and the dumping of it in Timaru. The group then
allegedly returned to Dunedin in another stolen vehicle.
The owner of a stolen vehicle had been contacted via social
media and taunted with a photo of his stripped-down Nissan
Skyline, Sgt McLellan said.
The cars were stripped and sold for parts, but it was too
early to comment on the method used to sell the items, he
Police were working to identify the parts of other stolen
vehicles and track down affected owners, but identification
numbers had been removed.
A flatbed Nissan Atlas truck belonging to Brent Lucas
Builders Ltd was stolen earlier this month, had its motor
removed and cut down into parts. Brent Lucas said the theft
of the truck, which was insured for $7000 but could cost up
to $22,000 to replace, had affected his business.
''We are going to fork out a lot of money. ''
The trio are expected to appear in the Dunedin District Court