GANGS SPARK CAR THEFT CRISIS – Friday November 30 2012

– Gangland detectives have been called into the fight against spiralling levels of car theft in Victoria.

The state’s Organised Motor Vehicle Theft Squad will be merged with the Santiago Taskforce in a significant escalation of the battle against syndicates stealing vehicles.

Groups under Santiago scrutiny – among them some violent Middle Eastern families – are suspected of being a key factor in the crime boom.

Santiago was formed in 2008 after dozens of non-fatal shootings, mostly in the northern suburbs.

Its members found widespread evidence criminals under investigation for shootings, drug trafficking and extortion were also heavily involved in car thefts.

Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana said it was clear some of those involved in car theft outfits carried guns.

“We also know a lot of these incidents (shootings) have happened in panel shops,” Mr Fontana said. “The concern is that some of these people are armed.”

Vehicle thefts in Victoria rose by 8.2% on the latest available 12-month comparison, meaning a $12 million annual jump in the value of  cars stolen to $133 million. This followed years of decreases as improved security systems made the thieves’ task harder.

Melbourne’s north-west policing zone, where many of the crime gangs and families are based, has been identified as the biggest problem area.

More than half the cars that go missing in Victoria are stolen there.

Mr Fontana said there was an element of criminals stealing cars to order.

In one case earlier this year, one of the state’s most notorious criminals was found by members involved in a stolen car investigation.

Mr Fontana said he wanted police across the state to help gather intelligence on vehicle theft.

Police will today also announce a separate anti-car theft taskforce in the north-west policing region, which covers the CBD and municipalities including Hume, Brimbank, Moreland, Whittlesea and Maribyrnong.

Taskforce Rio is set to be launched after the offences in that area rose from 6645 to 7741.

Mr Fontana said there were significant issues with cars being stolen by burglars who used them to commit crimes and with offences by young joy-riders.

Stolen cars were frequently used in petrol station drive-offs.

Commander Jeff Forti of the north-west region said police were committed to driving down the car theft figure in the area.

Of 6645 stolen in the 12-month count, 29% were never recovered.

Commander Forti said the older model Toyota Camry was a big target of local car thieves, including young joy riders. In November, three young people aged 12 to 16 died when the stolen Camry in which they were travelling slammed into a wall – Mark Buttler

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About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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