PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The KPSM is issuing this statement as a direct response to articles recently published on a news website, accusing the Police of a cover-up regarding stolen vehicles which were found and impounded.
Firstly, we condemn this article as it is irresponsible, amateur, and defaming reporting, which seems to be written with the intent to satisfy personal vendetta and to create a distraction at a time when the Police actively has a team searching for stolen vehicles on the island and have so far recovered more than 60 stolen vehicles.
“For total transparency, all information regarding this case will be forwarded to Chief Prosecutor and we will be asking him to open and objective investigation into this matter because we are very confident that our Detectives have followed the correct protocol as it relates to the processing and handling of stolen vehicles and the police of Sint-Maarten have nothing to hide.
These vehicles in question were seized by the Police during traffic stops when the drivers in question could not produce the correct documentation for the vehicle or proof of ownership. The drivers were arrested, and the Detective department immediately opened an investigation. Vehicles seized by the Police are kept at various locations and sometimes at the Police Station if there is a space issue. Now, hundreds of cars and Motorcycles are in Police possession, some of which were stolen and recovered but were used to commit crimes and are still being held while the investigation continues.
In other cases, the vehicles were recovered, but proof of ownership needs to be established without a doubt because we have cases where the vehicle recovered has two different VIN numbers, so a thorough check needs to be done by the Dealerships to verify who the most recent owner was and in other cases, we have vehicles with two legitimate owners because the vehicle was stolen and sold to unsuspecting parties.
“We would like to make it very clear that the Police does not decide to whom the vehicle is released, or when the vehicle is handed back to the owner. These decisions are made by the Public Prosecutor when they are satisfied that the investigation is complete and sometimes these investigations take time.
We continue to urge members of the community to be diligent and to be wary when purchasing a second-hand vehicle. Never make a financial transaction until you have had the vehicle checked by a dealership. The Police have launched several campaigns over the years to spread awareness about the trend and continued increase in the number of vehicles being stolen.
“It is heart rending to see persons lose their hard-earned monies and being swindled out of their investment, so we continue to remind the community to practice due diligence. We would also like to invite the ‘alleged’ insurance companies on the French Side who believe that vehicles belonging to their clients have been found, to come to the Police Station with the relevant documents and help us put these cases to rest. We cannot do this alone, the Police can only do our part but we need the assistance from the Public to curb this stolen vehicle trend we are encountering on Sint Maarten.”