Julien Constant and Denis Courtine (with Nicolas Goinard)
The lion brand SUVs are all the rage among thieves.
For a year, the 3008 and 5008 have disappeared from the streets of the Paris region before sailing to Africa, being made up and sold in France or being cut into spare parts very popular in Eastern Europe.
Police officers, insurers and even the manufacturer confirm the particular interest that criminals have in these models.
In 2020, the police and the gendarmerie dismantled several networks in Yvelines, in Val-d'Oise, in Seine-et-Marne, in Val-de-Marne and in Paris which had managed to seize twenty to fifty cars in several months of activity.
"The 3008 is very popular because it is a French car that thieves know how to steal," reveals the management of Argos, which includes insurers.
The criminals have the electronic tools to start them.
They also have plates and equipment to make them up.
For a year, complaints of theft from owners of 3008 and 5008 have piled up in the police stations and gendarmeries in Ile-de-France.
According to specialist Argos, the trend is undeniable, but cannot be quantified precisely for these models.
In 2019, the Paris region is leading the pack for the number of stolen cars.
In Paris, 6,292 cars, regardless of model, were stolen.
Seine-Saint-Denis climbs to the second step of the podium with 5010. In third place, we find Hauts-de-Seine with 4571.
The testimonies of victims accumulate.
Among them, this resident of Yvelines who remembers: “It was during the first confinement.
I had parked my 3008 in the driveway in front of the house.
In the morning he was gone.
»He will eventually receive an email from the Belgian police informing him that his vehicle had been found in the port of Antwerp.
“The license plates had been changed but it was my 3008,” he says.
Wave jammer, electronic starter box ...
The technique used by thieves is bafflingly simple.
After a location, under the protection of a wave jammer which thwarts the on-board geolocation system, they force open the door and plug in an electronic starter box, then seize the vehicle.
The stolen cars are made up and stored in parking lots before being exfiltrated to West Africa where these models are very popular.
As evidenced by a long investigation by the departmental security of Yvelines, which begins in Sartrouville.
On May 22, the police discovered two Peugeot 3008s in the heart of the city of India.
These two vehicles were stolen in Noisy-le-Roi and Bailly a few days earlier.
The police install a beacon on the cars to monitor their movements.
Five days later, the two 3008s are moving on the A1 motorway in the direction of northern France.
Investigators notably spot a suspicious truck blocked at the Tournai toll booth in Belgium.
The delivery note mentions a 28-year-old Gambian as the principal.
The SUVs left for his country of origin via the port of Antwerp.
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In total, investigators estimate that thirteen cars were stolen and illegally exported to The Gambia.
In October, five men, aged 27 to 37, were arrested in Clichy-la-Garenne (Hauts-de-Seine), as well as in Calais and Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de- Calais), before being indicted at Versailles.
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At the same time, the gendarmes of the research brigade of Palaiseau (Essonne) go back to the thieves of 3008 who raged in their area.
In six weeks by dint of spinning, surveillance and markup, their investigation leads them to the port of Le Havre (Seine-Maritime) where they manage to block two containers bound for North Africa.
Inside, they find twelve 3008. Nine people are arrested, all from Val-de-Marne, and indicted for the theft of fifty cars in an organized gang and criminal association.
Six of them have been remanded in custody and the investigation continues with a study of financial flows to determine who the sponsors are.
An international clientele
Another case and same scenario, in September, four men, aged 19 to 25, were indicted at the Paris courthouse for "organized gang robbery".
Originally from Paris, Ezanville (Val-d'Oise) and Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), since last January they have stolen twenty of these vehicles in underground parking lots in Paris that they exported to Africa.
These networks, which rely on an international clientele, compete for the market with many petty thieves who work piecemeal.
These are young people who "steal cars, make them up roughly before reselling them within 24 hours on Leboncoin.fr at a price well below the rating", explains an investigator.
They are sometimes at odds with unscrupulous mechanics who have the technical skills.
"To properly make up a car and resell it without being exposed, you have to obtain papers and be able to reset the computer computers", explains the representative of Argos.
A subject taken very seriously by the lion brand
But your 3008/5008 fly can also land with cut-sale champions.
A specialty, for example, of travelers in Vernouillet (Yvelines) who are also outstanding mechanics.
Last June, four men, aged 25 to 50, were indicted in Versailles for criminal association and organized robberies.
They are suspected of having stolen more than fifty Peugeot 3008 and 5008, before selling them abroad in spare parts.
Cars stolen during the night were methodically boned and concealed under tarpaulins.
The spare parts were transported in vans to Poland.
Finally, the wrecks were transported by truck to a scrapyard in Bagneux (Hauts-de-Seine) to be destroyed.
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For the lion brand, safety is “a subject it takes very seriously”.
“We have a team that works closely with the police to counter theft techniques,” says the PSA group.
Cybercrime is constantly evolving and we are working on the development of new electronic security procedures.
"For an experienced police officer," it is even easier to steal a car than it used to be.
Before, you had to break the Neiman, connect the wires… he remarks.
Today, an electronic box is sufficient.
"The Peugeot 3008 and 5008 are stolen on order from abroad"
Paul-José Valette is the head of departmental security in Yvelines.
LP / Julien Constant
Commissioner Paul-José Valette is the head of departmental security in Yvelines.
He delivers to the Parisian the fruit of his findings on the occasion of the dismantling of the car traffickers networks.
Why are the Peugeot 3008 and 5008 targeted by thieves?
There are flights in the Paris region because there is a market.
These are models that have the wind in their sails, after Range Rovers and BMWs, there are trends in the automotive market that criminals are also following.
Past cases show that these Peugeot are targeted by networks that belong to the foreign diaspora.
In West Africa, for example, these cars cost between 4,000 and 10,000 euros per unit.
It is commerce, the law of supply and demand.
These Peugeot SUVs are popular because they are tall cars, equipped with powerful engines that hold the road.
Motorists in these countries need it to travel on difficult roads where tar is scarce.
Is car traffic a parallel market in sensitive areas of Ile-de-France?
It is an extension of the underground economy.
There are opportunities in the neighborhoods: drugs, tobacco, cars, auto parts, mobile phones… It is a parallel market made up of consumers, ready to buy cheaper and thieves who make a significant profit.
The 3008 and 5008 are flown on order from abroad.
When the money is sent, the thieves take action.
There is always an organizer in France who is in contact with buyers in his country of origin.
This network head subcontracts the thefts to young people from the city.
Thieves earn between 50 and 100 euros per stolen car.
They steal the car, change the plates and move it from parking lot to parking lot, waiting to get it to go.
The stolen cars are then exported to the African continent via the ports of Le Havre
What are your means of action against these thefts?
Anti-crime squads monitor their area on the lookout for stolen cars or thieves in action.
Road checks are also effective.
It also requires targeted legal action.
On the one hand, the police dismantle networks and networks by monitoring their activities.
On the other hand, the garages are also checked, during departmental anti-fraud operational committees
, conducted with Argos GIE
and Gendiag cases.
These are computers that can tell if a car contains parts that are not original.