High-value car found stripped bare after ‘well-planned theft’

High-value car found stripped bare after ‘well-planned theft’

POLICE are investigating after a car stolen in Northern Ireland was found abandoned in the Republic after being stripped bare for parts.

The Audi Q7 was stolen from a home in Strabane, Co. Tyrone and later found 18 miles away on a remote road in Donegal stripped of parts.

“Police are appealing for information and witnesses after a vehicle was stolen in Strabane and driven over the border to County Donegal where it was located, 18 miles away, stripped of its parts,” a PSNI spokesperson said.

The theft came to light after a burglary was reported at a house in Bracken Gate in Strabane on Sunday, March 24.

“The house had been entered and the keys to a white Audi Q7, registration DG7 0BZO, were taken sometime between 12.30am and 1am,” the PSNI confirmed.

“Working with An Garda Síochána, the vehicle was later found on a remote forest road, near Lough Hill Bog, in the vicinity of Ballybofey,” they confirmed.

The car had been stripped of its engine, wheels, doors, bonnet and boot.

The car found abandoned and stripped for parts in rural Donegal

Detective Sergeant Gingell, from Strand Road Criminal Investigation Division, has appealed to any witnesses to the incident to come forward.

"This was a well-planned and organised theft and we're appealing to anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in Bracken Gate between the times mentioned to get in touch,” he said.

“We're also appealing for sightings of the Audi Q7 or any dash cam footage from the Strabane/Lifford area around 1am yesterday morning," he added.

"We also want to hear from anyone who is offered parts for sale, similar to those stripped from the Audi, to get in touch on 101 quoting reference number 413 of 24/03/24."

Following the theft, the PSNI has urged all vehicle owners to be vigilant to secure their homes and property.

"All it takes is minutes, sometimes just a few seconds, for a criminal to pounce on an opportunity to steal from you,” Detective Sergeant Gingell said.

“That could be a door left unlocked, an open window or a handbag or set of car keys left in open view.”

He added: “Store belongings such as car keys in a secure place, well out of view, and easy reach of criminals.

“Do not to leave keys in an unsafe place (such as under doormats or flower pots), check who is at your door before opening and remember not to leave cash or valuable items on display.

"A lot of money is invested in your home and vehicles and, when criminals steal from you, they use what they've taken to make money. In particular, high value vehicles are lucrative for criminals where parts can be sold on for large sums. Don't make it easy for them.

"Even when you are in the house we would advise you to ensure you keep your doors and windows locked.  Our advice is close it, lock it, check it.

"You could also consider fitting an alarm or other security devices at your home.”