The illegal trade in stolen vehicle parts

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By Kotie Geldenhuys

The illicit trade in stolen vehicle parts and the existence of chop shops represent a dark underbelly of the vehicle industry. Operating within the shadows, these criminal enterprises thrive on the demand for inexpensive vehicle parts and the desire for quick profits.

In many countries around the world, criminals are actively engaged around the clock in the illicit pursuit of stealing vehicles to extract their parts, which are then sold to criminal networks globally. A significant portion of vehicles stolen on demand is transported to designated “chop shops” (Roberts, 2023). The term chop shop refers to a facility or location used by criminals to rapidly dismantle vehicles into their valuable components, typically with the intention of selling them (German, 2021). Chop shops are frequently associated with organised crime syndicates and are found in countries across the globe. Smaller independent establishments are interconnected with a broader network of thieves and operators of illegal salvage yards. The thieves pilfer vehicles, often adhering to a provided list from the chop shop or salvage yard. In addition, they may bring unlisted vehicles and attempt to quickly exchange them for cash through fencing (Sailor, nd).

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[This is only an extract of an article that is published in Servamus: February 2024. This article is available for purchase.]

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