getting away in style.....
Carjackers target prestige vehicles
By Jano Gibson August 15, 2005 - 1:42PM
Luxury vehicle owners in Sydney's eastern suburbs are being warned to take extreme care after a spate of carjackings over the past 10 weeks.
Five top-range Mercedes-Benzes, two Porsches and a BMW have been targeted by carjackers, who use the high-powered vehicles as getaway cars in armed robberies.
At least two other non-prestige vehicles have been carjacked in Sydney during the same period.
The owners of some of the most expensive vehicles on Sydney's roads have been warned to be on the lookout for would-be carjackers.
"If you believe you are being followed, do not go to your home address but divert to the nearest police station and report the matter," Detective Inspector Grant Taylor said.
The carjackers wait on the side of the road until a car that takes their interest drives past, he said.
They then follow it to the owner's home and demand the car keys as the prestige vehicles are too difficult to hot-wire, he said.
Seven carjacking-type offences had occurred in Sydney's east since June 1 - three of which were unsuccessful, he said.
The latest attempted carjackings occurred on Friday night when a gang tried to steal a $450,000 Mercedes in Point Piper and a $185,000 Mercedes in Haymarket.
The driver of the Point Piper incident escaped from the gang by driving his convertible to the Rose Bay police station.
A short time later, a man walking to a restaurant in Haymarket was assaulted by two men who demanded the keys to his parked Mercedes.
He threw the keys to the ground after noticing one of the men had a pistol, which was later found to be a replica.
But the carjackers had trouble starting the vehicle and fled after two people jumped out of a taxi to intervene.
Police believe the incidents were linked as the carjackers in each case got away in a Nissan Skyline.
On Thursday night, a $450,000 black Mercedes-Benz convertible, with number plates MERC, was stolen by balaclava-clad carjackers after its owner pulled up outside his Rose Bay home in New South Head Road.
About two weeks earlier, a $217,000 Mercedes was carjacked in the same street. The blue two-door Mercedes was taken by four men wearing balaclavas.
Police believe the blue Mercedes was used as a getaway vehicle in Waterloo on August 3 and in Hurstville on August 8 when thieves tried to take ATMs after ram-raiding shops.
A blue Mercedes was found burned out in Canterbury following the Hurstville incident.
"It's believed that these vehicles are being stolen for utilisation in other offences such as armed robbery. The cars are used as getaway cars because of their power and performance," Detective Inspector Taylor said.
He said CCTV footage of the carjacking last Thursday was being analysed and the replica pistol found in Haymarket was being forensically examined.
In other attacks, a VW Golf sedan was carjacked in Concord on August 7; a Porsche was carjacked in Randwick on August 6; a man had his arm slashed after his van was carjacked in Ashfield on August 1; a $120,000 BMW was carjacked in Erskineville on July 7; and, a Mercedes was carjacked after a home invasion in Paddington on June 1.
Detective Inspector Taylor said police were following up a number of leads in relation to the carjackings.
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