A CAR thief from Croydon has been handed an eight-year prison sentence, after he reported his own car stolen and police discovered a cache of 19 other stolen vehicles on his property.
Following sentencing on Friday, the Metropolitan Police revealed that Chirag Patel had reported his Porsche stolen on January 31, 2015.
Although Patel initially gave officers his girlfriend’s address, he was later forced to reveal his home address, where officers found a collection of pilfered luxury cars in a car park in the building’s basement.
As well as the 19 cars — with an estimated combined value of £728,000 — the Met also uncovered nine sets of keys that had been stolen from the Jaguar Land Rover factory in Solihull.
The 19 cars were found to have been stolen between October 2012 and January 2015, with Patel using the vehicles in an “off-the-books” car rental business. It’s understood he targeted keyless entry cars, which can be easily stolen by accessing the car’s computer and programming it to recognise a blank fob, which can then be used to start the motor.
Investigators discovered Patel had tried to cover his tracks by registering the stolen cars using insurance details from written-off vehicles. Five of the models found in the basement car park were also revealed to be fitted with duplicate personalised licence plates.
After being found guilty at Croydon Crown Court, Patel was sentenced to eight years in prison. He will spend three of those years serving a concurrent sentence for possession of criminal property, after investigators uncovered £440,000 of “unexplained cash deposits” in two bank accounts attributed to him.
The Met’s acting detective sergeant Billy Clough said: “Patel played the leading role in a sophisticated operation to handle high-vale, stolen vehicles, motivated only by sheer greed. I hope this sentence sends a message to those involved in this type of organised crime will be pursued robustly.
“He even attempted to convince the jury that he was a legitimate businessman, who had simply been unlucky in obtaining such a vast quantity of stolen items, but the jury saw through this and convicted him of being the key player in a significant criminal enterprise.”