Auto Dealers Arming for Added Security Against Carnappings

The carnappers are at it again. After the spate of carjacking incidents late last year, criminal groups are now targeting used car dealers in what appear to be carjacking with homicide incidents.

In two separate incidents reported just this week, apparent carnappers have hijacked vehicles while supposedly test-driving them, after which the car dealers were killed and then burned.

Emerson Lozano was found charred and left in an empty lot in Pampanga last January 14, while Venson Evangelista was found under similar circumstances in Nueva Ecija.

The police have yet to determine if the two cases are related. However, both victims were automobile traders, and both were supposedly out to test-drive cars for sale with supposed buyers.

Meanwhile, reports say that auto dealers are arming themselves against potential carnapping syndicates, given the tragic ends that some of their colleagues in the industry have faced. While mum about the apparent show of arms by car dealers, the police have shared some tips for keeping safe while in the business of selling cars. Police Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina of the Highway Patrol Group gives the following suggestions:

1. Get a trusted companion when meeting prospective buyers.
2. Get an authentic identification cards of the prospective buyers such as driver’s license and other IDs issued by government agencies.
3. The road test of the vehicle should be done near the car traders’ houses.
4. The road test should never be done at night, except if the buyer is a very close friend.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police is advocating the passage of laws that will outlaw the carrying of firearms outside of uniformed service. The bill, filed by Senator Franklin Drilon, will still allow individuals to possess licensed firearms, provided these are kept at one’s residence, office or shooting club. Only those in the uniformed services can carry firearms in public, and only while in duty.

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