UITENHAGE second-hand car dealership owner Simon van Vuuren, whom police suspect of being the kingpin behind a vehicle-smuggling syndicate stealing cars in the Western Cape and selling them in the Eastern Cape, will face a total of 53 criminal charges.
Van Vuuren, 65, who owns Monte Carlo Motors, appeared in the Uitenhage Magistrate's Court yesterday.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Gerda Swart said prosecutors and police wanted the cases transferred to the Western Cape courts for trial.
"We are looking into this but, either way, both Eastern and Western Cape units are working hand in hand with prosecutors to ensure a speedy and successful conviction," she said. The charges arise from a police swoop on Monte Carlo Motors in December.
They have since recovered 41 cars worth more than R2million, most them stolen around Cape Town.
Subsequently, police have found more stolen vehicles that were allegedly sold by Van Vuuren.
Detectives from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth joined forces to track down the stolen vehicles.
Cape Town investigator, Sergeant Juan-Mari Erasmus said Monte Carlo had come under investigation after two suspected car thieves were arrested in Cape Town in June.
Van Vuuren was released on R20000 bail.
He is due back in court on May 10.