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Village Chairperson Arrested for Coordinating Number Plate Theft Racket

The Chairperson Cleophas Opendi, 52, was arrested after some of the victims of the theft disclosed that they were instructed to collect their number plates from Tororo district and all of them received them from the same person. Opendi was arrested alongside his niece, Gertrude Namutosi, 24.
The suspects being brought to Kiira regional police headquarters for interogation.

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Police in Kiira region has arrested the chairperson of Rulowo village, in Kisoko Sub County, Tororo district, for  coordinating a racket of number plate thieves in Eastern Uganda and parts of Kampala.

The Chairperson Cleophas Opendi, 52, was arrested after some of the victims of the theft disclosed that they were instructed to collect their number plates from Tororo district and all of them received them from the same person. Opendi was arrested alongside his niece, Gertrude Namutosi, 24.

Initial investigations revealed that Opendi is the brother of the racket leader, Simon Olo, who is still at large. It is reported that after stealing number-plates from vehicles, the group leaves behind leaflets instructing the owners to pay between 500,000 and five million Shillings to get the plates back.

The group uses a contact number registered in the name of Hussein Kato, who passed away two years ago. A detective who spoke on condition of anonymity says that the suspects also use machetes and other deadly weapons to threaten any of their victims, who attempt to involve the police in efforts to recover the number plates.

“Some of their victims have confessed that they were forced to surrender money to the suspects in exchange for their number plates after being threatened with guns and machetes,” he says. The source says that such camouflage tactics were frustrating efforts to crack down on the suspects.

Kiira region’s police spokesperson, James Mubi says that they launched an intensive crackdown to arrest the suspects on Monday, after receiving intelligence information concerning their hideout. Mubi adds that the suspects will be charged with aggravated robbery and obtaining money through false pretence.

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