Three Arrested for Equipping Stolen Cars With IDF Plates

Police yesterday arrested three members of a single family on suspicion of selling dozens of stolen cars equipped with license plates taken from Israel Defense Forces vehicles.

The three suspects, 56-year-old Mohammed Atia of Jaffa and his two sons, aged 23 and 21, are believed to have bought dozens of Renault Kangoos from the IDF at a cheap price, then stolen cars of the same make and equipped them with the army license plates.

"Over the course of the investigation, the three suspects bought dozens of cars from a car dealership near Be'er Ya'akov," a police officer said. "From there, they were taken to the West Bank. [The suspects] would then steal cars of the same make and replace the license plates. Later, they sold the stolen cars to unsuspecting customers."

Yesterday, police raided the Atia house and arrested the three men thought to have run the elaborate operation. All three were remanded by Ramle Magistrate's Court for six days. Police detectives also confiscated dozens of Renault Kangoos from people around the country who had unknowingly bought stolen cars from the Atias. Last year, the IDF sold over 4,000 vehicles that it had taken out of service to private car dealers. Most of the Atias' cars were bought before 2002 and had serious mechanical problems.