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Shanghai Police Break up Moped Robbery Ring
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Police busted a ring that stole mopeds, to refit and sell them to other moped theft victims, the Zhabei Public Security Bureau announced yesterday.

Police said they arrested three suspects on charges of committing moped theft, an undisclosed number of suspects responsible for refitting the vehicles and a couple who stored the stolen vehicles.

A complaint call by a moped theft victim alerted police last month. The citizen surnamed Wang called police on 110, claiming a thief took his moped several days ago - he was told to pay 2,500 yuan (US$312) to redeem the vehicle, according to Shi Fangning of Zhabei Public Security Bureau.

Police discovered that the vehicle was not Wang's original, but a refitted moped. Police focused on several men in a residential area on the Pushan Road.

"These guys were spotted riding different types of mopeds every day," Shi said.

Police later found a refitting workshop was found where stolen mopeds were given a new look, a fake certificate and serial numbers, Shi added.

Police arrested a theft suspect on May 22 when he rode a refitted moped out of the workshop.

The unidentified man immediately confessed the scam to police, according to officers. Scalpers lied to moped theft victims that they found their missing vehicles and tricked victims into telling them the characteristics of the stolen ones as well as the serial numbers.

The scalpers would then collaborate with ring members, who would later refit mopeds they stole somewhere else to match the description by the customers.

(Shanghai Daily June 28, 2006)

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