The operations were conducted in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts
The Police have arrested 13 suspects, including three women linked to the resurgent car thefts in Kampala and neighbouring districts.
Without giving further details, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the suspects, who were picked up last week, include those linked to the murder of one Nakisingo at Kyetume in Mukono district.
Onyango identified the suspects linked to the murder as Alex Kanairugaba, 32; Asuman Kalema, 35 and Juliet Kyagabirwe, 35.
Others (linked to stolen cars) were identified as Abdul Mukiibi, Alex Tusime, James Batande, James Katte; Fred Anyang, 30; Peter Charles, 40; Carol Kemigisha, 39; Sara Ifera, 19; Nasser Kisambire and Moses Mulisa.
The operations were conducted in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts. By press time, they were still being held at various Police detention facilities in Kampala.
According to Onyango, a Toyota/Hiace UAT 098U was recovered from KiibeKawempe division and another, UAR 066B, from Old Masaka Road.
Other recovered cars are UBE 052L, UBD 456W, UAY 193Q, UAL 081Q (grey Premio), UBE 845X (red Sino Truck) and UAL 018A (Toyota/Corona).
The cars are parked at Katwe and Kawempe Police stations as well as at Central Police Station (CPS) in Kampala.
Onyango has appealed to owners of the stolen cars to verify with security operatives at CPS.
A preliminary Police report has attributed the recent spate of car thefts to ex-convicts who were imprisoned in 2012 but recently ended their jail terms.
In a recent interview, deputy Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said: “Night parking spots in Nansana-Gganda, Makindye, Nateete-Wakaliga and Lungujja top the list for harbouring stolen vehicles in both Kampala and Wakiso district.”
The details emerged after Flying Squad Unit operatives swung into action and recovered eight suspected stolen vehicles (all Toyota) and picked three suspects linked to a racket behind the car thefts across the country.
The Police arrested Paul Lubega, Mohammad Lutaya and Yahaya Mafabi, all residents of Nansana in Wakiso district in connection with the crime.
It also emerged that car thieves operate holding centres where they store the cars for up to six months before taking them out of the country.
Police sources say some of the holding centres are in the city suburbs of Kawempe, Kyengera and Wakiso.
Most of the holding centres operate as garages or warehouses.
Investigations into the growing car theft largely point to security lapses but also highlights sophisticated techniques employed by criminals.
A security source revealed that where criminals suspect the Police is vigilant, they dismantle the car and load it onto trucks disguised as charcoal or other merchandise and are quick to ‘tip’ traffic Police along the way.
“They are willing to sacrifice the less valuable parts of the car such as tyres. The engine is removed and the chassis carefully separated for concealment,’’ a Police detective explained.
It takes between two days and six months for a stolen car from Uganda to find its way to a neighbouring country, but this also depends on the route taken.