'Cops ran chop shop in capital'
Eleven police officers appeared in court yesterday for allegedly selling off recovered stolen vehicles from Pretoria police depots.
The officers, from the Vehicle Identification and Safeguarding Unit in Pretoria West, include officers Russia Mogale and Pinkie Elizabeth Bennets, both commanders of different sections of the unit.
According to the charge sheet, the officers - who are facing 78 charges including racketeering, fraud, theft and corruption - sold off 20 vehicles between May 2008 and February last year. They were arrested in March last year.
The vehicles sold include a Freightliner Argosy Cummins truck worth R863648, a BMW, a Ford Focus, various Volkswagen Golfs and an Audi A4.
According to the charge sheet, the officers allegedly released the vehicles with false engine and chassis identification numbers.
They allegedly sold the cars to members of the public, including suspected criminals.
Investigators claim they have direct evidence of people paying the officers to release vehicles. The officers would allegedly change the engine and chassis numbers after selling the cars.
They would also sell information about the vehicle identification numbers, so as to make false numbers virtually unidentifiable.
The case was postponed to January for trial.