Somewhere behind a scrap yard on the outskirts of town lies a piece of criminal history. Here are the remains of a Range Rover that was targeted during two foreclosures in Amsterdam’s Staatsliedenbuurt in late 2012. The first thing you notice are the bullet holes in the car’s windshield.
A photo of a loaded Range Rover, taken shortly after the shooting, became a symbol of the rise of a new generation of serious criminals. He was on the front page of newspapers, magazines and books. Most of those involved in the shooting are now serving prison terms (life) or have been shot themselves.
Ask for pictures of the blood
This fraught history means that the owner of the scrapyard does not have to have his name in the newspaper. “After I bought the car, I put it on Facebook. He was recognized immediately. All kinds of strange people came there. They started asking for pictures of blood. I don’t feel that way.”
The car was parked for years in a police storage area (POT) in Johan Huingelaan in Nieuw-West. Then the breaker bought it from the broker for a total loss. He looks at the old text. “A vehicle has been involved in a shooting, which can be seen from the windshield,” it reads. ‘No visible traces of blood were found.’
“It seemed like a good business to me,” says the demolition contractor. After winning the bid (he won’t say how much), the car was picked up by a semi-trailer. His employee was stopped by the police on the highway. “They had seen a puzzled windshield and wanted to know what was going on. After explaining it to them, we were allowed to continue.” Once at the field, the car was connected to the battery charger.The car appeared to still be able to start.
The garden is now growing out of the belly of the Range Rover. Where the grill used to be, plants have now sprouted through the chassis. Range Rover has been widely used as a sponsor for other cars. Chrome side mirrors, rims, transfer case, intercooler, parking heater and many other parts have been sold for a long time.
‘Mocro Mafia car’
When he sold the block, the history of the car was told to the buyers. “It’s a diesel from 2008. It only had 117,000 kilometers on the odometer. When I sold the block, I mentioned that this was a Mocro Mafia car. Otherwise people would never believe that odometer reading.”
Anyone sitting in the driver’s seat and seeing the bullet holes inside can almost feel the violence of December 29, 2012. That evening, three young men were shot in Staatsliedenbuurt. The target Benaouf A. managed to save himself by jumping into the water between two houseboats. His friends Youssef Lkhorf (28) and Saïd el Yazidi (21) ran back to the Range Rover, which was parked a little away.
Lkhorf was shot. El Yazidi managed to get to the Range Rover. He was trapped in a car and shot. He then ran out of the car and was later shot dead.
Later, the gunmen also opened fire on two motorcycle police officers who were scared. By throwing away their motorcycles, they were able to survive. Although this is not entirely accurate in fact, the wild shooting in Staatsliedenbuurt is sometimes considered as the starting point of the war in the Amsterdam underworld of the last decade, which later resulted in many young victims.
The trespasser realizes that the vehicle on his property has a criminal record. Displaying the Range Rover, as it once happened in the warehouse at the De Heining industrial estate where Freddy Heineken and his driver were at the time of the 1983 kidnapping, is not an option for the demolitionist. “That is not good. Two boys were shot dead in the car. They also have relatives.”
The car will soon go into the shredder. “It’s nice that I was able to sell the part. After all, it’s kind of sustainabilityhuh? But for me, cars are just a business. Nothing to be sentimental about or anything. I’m just saying: your last car is always the station wagon.”
About the author: Wouter Laumans writes about crime and also specializes in investigative fiction. He does the biweekly Parole Crime podcast with Corrie Gerritsma and Paul Vugts. You can send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.