Police have detained Jewish, Arab-Israeli and Palestinian car thieves belonging to a gang that specialized in transferring stolen vehicles to the Palestinian Authority, Ynet reported on Tuesday.
Among those arrested was an Israeli high-tech worker who allegedly provided the other gang members with car keys and alarm codes. The gang stole only from Jews, and a car that was mistakenly stolen from an Arab was returned to its owner.
Over the past two months Central District Police conducted a covert investigation against the gang, which operated mainly in the Sharon and central regions. The head of the gang was identified as 31-year-old Anan Masrawa from the Arab-Israeli town of Tayibe. He is known to police.
According to investigators, the Palestinian gang members would usually steal the vehicles during the late evening hours and then transfer them to Jewish members holding Israeli identification cards, who would then hand them over to Palestinians at checkpoints along the Green Line (border with Palestinian territories) without raising suspicions. After the exchange the vehicles were handed to local criminals.
The investigation further revealed that in most cases specific car models were stolen at the Palestinians' request.
"This gang was sophisticated and stole vehicles with the use of a computer," Superintendent Ronen Ben Zvi said. "The gang stole dozens of vehicles. We've detained the gang leader and the hi-tech worker; more arrests are expected.