The Ashanti Regional Police Command has arrested 15 persons suspected to be members of two car-snatching syndicates that have been terrorizing residents of the regional capital.
A self-styled journalist, Akosua Oforiwaa Amanfo, 24, who hitherto worked as a newscaster with Ahenema Radio, a local radio station at Breman Nkotwima in the Suame Constituency, was among the suspects.
The police have so far retrieved from the suspects nine of the stolen vehicles, which have been parked at the regional police headquarters in Kumasi.
Two of the vehicles, including a Mercedes Benz with registration number AS 1725 Z, found to be the registration number of a Nissan Urvan bus belonging to a police officer at Sogakope in the Volta Region, and four others, were recovered from Kwabena Takyi aka Master Pii, 26, a member of another gang.
Police said there were bloodstains on the seats of the Benz car when it was retrieved, an indication that the robbers probably murdered or physically assaulted the owner of the vehicle before taking it away.
Briefing the media on Thursday, the Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Kwaku Ayensu Opare Addo said Kwabena Takyi, a resident of Bohyen was recently arrested upon a tip-off.
According to him, his men were yet to arrest the other suspects, who were mentioned by Takyi during interrogation.
The suspects, he said, after stealing the vehicles, changed the original colour of the Benz from blue-black to light brown and the Jeep from black to grey and as well changed their registration numbers in order to outwit the owners.
Mr. Opare Addo said the police are aware that a number of such stolen cars are in the system and gave the assurance that the security services will join forces to impound all those vehicles.
The commander expressed concern about public outcry regarding nefarious activities of such gangs who use pistols and other offensive weapons to rob innocent passengers in taxis usually at night in the city.
He recalled that on October 2, 2008 a lady who boarded a taxi from Maakro Junction in Kumasi was robbed of her cell phone and money in the Suame area.
DCOP Opare Addo said the ability of the woman to take note of the taxi's registration number helped the police in arresting the 13 other suspects who are currently in police custody assisting in investigations.
He said the suspects, who have admitted the offence, would be dealt with according to law, adding that a couple of witnesses have also pledged their preparedness to testify in the case.
He warned the public to be alert when boarding taxis particularly at night to lonely places such as Ohwim, Adiembra and Ahodwo.
The other suspects were identified as Kwabena Osei, John Asante, Afua Cheche, Yaw Owusu, aka Joe, Gladys Tweneboah, Patricia Yeboah, Kwame Anokye and Kwabena Nketia.
The rest were Eric Dwamena, aka Gabby, Yaw Adjei, Yaw Nkansah, aka Paa Yaw, Naomi Asante and Patrick Nomi.
From James Quansah, Kumasi