Israelis outraged to find their stolen vehicles selling on Arab Facebook group

Some owners found their cars advertised on the site. Police are investigating.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Israel Police have begun investigating a Facebook group that allegedly offers stolen Israeli cars for sale, Maariv  reported Monday.

The group consists of Arab residents of Hebron and eastern Jerusalem who are offering the cars at well below list price, said the report. In some cases, the license plates of the pictured vehicles are hidden, leading to the suspicion that the sellers do not want the true owners to be able to find them.

Some owners found their cars on the site anyway, and they went to the police to protest about a group on social media that allows people to deal in allegedly stolen goods.

The police went to work on the complaint, and are currently uncovering the identities of the group’s members and managers, as well as the vehicles on offer for sale. If the complainants’ charges are found to be true, arrests will follow.

According to police statistics, car theft in Israel has been cut in half over the last 10 years, and is currently at its lowest level in decades. In a statement, the force said that it is constantly working to reduce the damage done to owners and insurance companies alike.

“Last year, the police arrested more than 1,450 suspects, and brought about a thousand indictments against criminals and gangs of car thieves,” it said. “This is besides the thousands of stolen vehicles that were located by police and returned to their owners.”

People in cars with Israeli license plates can generally travel more freely through security checkpoints than those with Palestinian plates. This can make them attractive for regular criminals such as smugglers, or those bent on committing a terror attack.

The controls on what goes into Judea and Samaria are also much more relaxed than on what comes out. This makes it quite easy for thieves to drive their pilfered goods into Palestinian Authority cities such as Nablus (Shechem) – known to the police for years as a haven for car thieves – and either resell them or chop them up for their valuable spare parts.