Adjumani, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Security agencies in Adjumani district are battling a new crime wave in which suspected thieves pluck off vehicle registration plates as an enticement to extort money from car owners. According to police, the suspects leave behind mobile phone numbers on the vehicle whose number plate they have removed so that the victim can reach out to them.
In just a space of three days, at least two cases have been recorded within the district. The latest incident happened on 21 January 2024, where an unidentified thieves plucked off two number plates from two cars parked in residential homes in Rassia village, Marindi parish in Pachara sub-county Adjumani district and left behind a mobile phone number.
Charles Tiondi, one of the victims of the new crime wave, told URN that his vehicle registration number was stolen on Sunday and the thieves left behind an MTN Phone number for him to call to recover his plate. He further said that when he called the number, the mastermind demanded 150,000 shillings.
“These thieves are smart. They even make you deposit the money on a different mobile money number before directing you to the location where you can pick your number plate,”Tiondi remarked.
Ignatius Dragudu, the North West Nile Region Police Spokesperson explains that the masterminds mostly target vehicles parked at residential places and by the roadside. According to Dragudu, there is need for increased vigilance and neighbourhood watch among the community amidst the new wave of crime in the district.
It is an offence under the Traffic and Road Safety Act 1998 as Amended to drive a vehicle without identification, defaced or even obscured numbers plates. Under the same Act, driving a vehicle without a number plate or one whose number plate is obscure attracts a fine of 100,000 shillings.