Karachi - An unidentified group of criminals is stealing number plates of private vehicles parked at public places in upscale localities of the city, it has been announced. Victims of this crime have reported that once the number plates are stolen, a representative from the group contacts them a few days later and offers to return their number plates if they agree to pay a hefty sum of money.
One of the victims, requesting anonymity, said that "these thieves came to me after stealing my number plates from my car parked within the premises of private club. They told me to give Rs60,000 if I want my original number plates back." He added that the perpetrators were able to get his cell phone number which is how they contacted him. Furthermore, they warned him not to get in touch with the police because that would result in their offer becoming "invalid". Once he agreed to their terms, the victim was called to a ground that falls under the jurisdiction of the Defence Police Station, where his number plates were returned to him after he paid the said amount.
Another victim, who also chose to remain anonymous, told The News that he had parked his car outside a marriage hall from where his number plates were stolen, while he was inside attending the wedding. "I went to the local police station and registered my complaint. However, while the police did make an entry in the logbook, no FIR was lodged in this regard," he added. The victim also received a similar phone call that asked him to pay Rs35,000 in exchange for his number plates. However, he refused. The victim in question has now applied for another number plate at the relevant office in Civic Centre. It is worth mentioning here that if the owner loses an original number plate and asks for another one to be issued, the value of his/her vehicle depreciates considerably.
Meanwhile, The News contacted the Defence and Clifton police stations, asking if any suspects involved in such activities had been arrested. Only the duty officer at the Gizri Police Station confirmed reports of such incidents, pointing out that one complaint of this kind had been made but arrests have yet to be made.
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