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Immobile in Sambodia | Cop Shops and Chop Shops


Did I mention that our Volkswagen Gol, 2007 was stolen recently, a half a block from O Sachinha — “your boteco” — and another very short distance from the HQ of the local military police battalion?

Do we expect to get the car back? Not anyway and nohow.

Source Paraná Online

Denounced more than ten days ago, the web of corruption set up by state legislative police agents and detectives to demand a bribe from the owners of used auto parts establishments is not exactly the newest of the news.

The state antimafia police division (Gaeco) has gathered evidence that the mafia of the chop shops have deep roots in the structure of the state police and had operated for a least seven years in Curitiba and its metro area.

According to prosecutors, the crimes are directly related to the index of stolen cars, which has surged in recent years.

Throughout the course of Operation Vortex, used auto parts vendors narrated in detail how, since 2005, they have paid a monthly bribe to the DFRV, the stolen property and vehicle theft division of the state policce. In exchange, police would “look the other way” during inspections, making way for the sale of car parts from stolen vehicles.

“The roots of this practice run deep. The amount of the monthly payment varied depending on the decisions of the Crimes Against Property division, to which DFRV is subordinated and on the dynamic of the specific shop,” said prosecutor André Pasternak Glitz.

An accounting ledger seized from the home of one of the detectives indicates that the bribe varied between R$ 250 and R$ 1,000. It is estimated that R$30,000 in bribes were received per month.

This is about R$ 360,000 per year — modest compared to most rackets. It is the first time I have heard of chop shopping in Brazil, which is odd when you think about all the funilaria and borracharias you see everywhere.

O Sachinha: Ask for the Alemão for excellent service

O Sachinha: Ask for the Alemão for excellent service


According to Gaeco, the stores that participated in the scheme formed a kind of network. The car thieves were hired individually to steal cars according to customer specifications.

The cars were then disassembled in remote locations and the pieces were eventually distributed to unsuspecting customers mixed in with legitimate lots of parts.

Statistics indicate a relationship between the chop shop mafia and the increase in stolen cars reported. In 2007, when the state public safety secretary began publishing statistics,

Curitiba suffered 16.3 stolen cars per day, on average, that year.

Last year, the figure was 25.5 per day

With the dismissal of the police agents accused of taking part in the scheme, the index began to drop for the first time. In the first quarter, 23.4 cars were stolen per day, on average.

The Other Side

In a note, the state judicial police says it does not comment on “abstractions” regarding supposed cases of corruption in the DFRV and stresses that no police agent was charged in connection with the “pseudo-scheme” in the period been 2005 and 2010.

It always sends a shudder down my spine: the police spokesperson who starts from the premise that any criticism of the police — any police — is a Communist plot. Not even lip service is paid to “we refuse to put up with dishonest cops, so measures will be taken.”

“Police Fleeced My Car”

On a Saturday night in February 2009, as Gustavo — not his real name — was parking his VW Golf in front of the building where he lives … in Curitiba.

Before he had a change to turn the vehicle off, two armed men announced a robbery and made him follow them. A few blocks down the street, the robbers were disappointed to learn that the car was a Model 1.6, as they were looking for a Model 2.0.

“They were professionals. When they learned the car was the wrong model, they told me to stay calm, that they would leave the car behind in short order. They then changed their minds.

Gustavo says he was freed after suffering a scratch | … and the thieves drove off. |

Two weeks later, a telephone call from the Alto Maracanã, in Colombia (Greater Curitiban Metro area) reported that the vehicle had been found. On arriving at the precinct, however, Gustavo met with disappointing news: Only the carcass of the Golf was left.  “I was startled. The car was totally stripped.. I was seriously disturbed,” he said.

Suspicions grew when, not long after Gustavo’s ordeal, a friend  who lives near the precinct, stated that Gustavo’s Golf, intact, had been left parked out in front of the precinct for several days. “It was cops who chopped my car for spare parts,”Gustavo concluded.

Another surprise awaited when the tow truck arrived at Gustavo’s house. “The driver said it is common to take stolen cars to chop shops. There is always a policeman in the middle of the deal. But since I had no proof of anything, I decided to put the episode behind me. “