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More than 9,000 cars stolen in 2013 in Saudi Arabia

According to statistics, 4,213 vehicles, representing about 45.9 percent, were returned to their owners

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A total of 9,169 cars were stolen last year (2013) from various parts of the Kingdom, Makkah daily reported on Wednesday, quoting official traffic police statistics.

According to statistics, 4,213 vehicles, representing about 45.9 percent, were returned to their owners.

"Not a single hour passes without a car being stolen in the Kingdom," a traffic police officer, who preferred to remain anonymous, said. Statistics said Riyadh, with 3,907 cases, tops all cities in terms of the number of stolen vehicles. It is followed by Makkah region with 2,621 cars.

In Riyadh, as many as 2,313 stolen cars were recovered and given back to their owners, while in Makkah, 927 cars were retrieved.

According to the traffic police, the thieves often resort to various tricks to steal cars.

The police said the most common trick the thieves use is stealing car keys, making their copies and returning them back to the car without the driver taking any notice. The police said the thieves may keep the keys with them for a long time before using them to quietly steal the car. They said the easiest way of stealing is when the car engine is left running with the keys inside.

The police also said some thieves may pose as garage employees, security men or hotel drivers. Some of them may offer to help the driver when there is any fault in his car in order to steal it from him later.

According to the traffic police, there were incidents when thieves would pretend to buy a car from a showroom and ask for a test drive. During the drive, they normally run away with the vehicle.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Sept.18, 2014.