Road Modus Operandi

Your ownership experience with a car doesn’t just stop with maintenance and good cleaning habits for your vehicle. There will be times that you need to be aware of certain places that have a higher chance for your car to be broken into. This is why as a car owner you should be aware of these car-related crimes and know the sign to look out for. Here are some of the known road crimes in the Philippines to date – because it’s always best to be aware than be helplessly sorry.

Car break-in

As the name states, there are would-be criminals out there that are ready to take advantage of an unlocked vehicle stuck in traffic. Their modus is to victimize parked or traffic-stalled vehicles. Since the driver is in shock after seeing random people inside his/her car, there is limited time to react, especially when the perpetrators use knives or guns.

This, however, is a new breed of the said “Bukas Kotse” gang, as this is the oldest trick in the book where criminals would try to break into the car, either to get valuable things or steal the car itself.

test drive

We understand that test driving a vehicle is a critical part of the car buying process. However, there are people out there who are willing to take advantage of this privilege. People who are at risk of this modus are second-hand car sellers. The assailant will first ask for a test drive of the posted vehicle for sale. The thief will then drive to a secluded area to perform the crime. He/she will then take the car to a secluded place and attempts to take the car from the owner at gunpoint.

Broken car window

This type of criminal act is done using shards of spark plugs that are thrown at the window. The window breaks easily as the shards of the broken spark plug’s ceramic part hit it. This is done to unattended parked cars at any time of the day. Laptops, wallets, mobile phones, and bags containing valuable items are the most common target of this crime. This is why you should park your vehicle in a well-lit area or one that is being covered by a CCTV and keep your more important belongings with you instead of leaving them in your car. There isn’t much you can do in the way of gas protection but there are steps you can take for prevention.

fake accident

This is a type of scam where people fake an accident by throwing themselves to a passing car, making it look like they were hit. Some even go far by adding fake blood for more drama, which they will use to catch the attention of passersby. Criminals may ask for a huge sum of money or a conspirator may take advantage of the situation and rob the unattended car. To help protect you from these situations it is best to have a dashcam installed in your vehicle. In this manner you can show the authorities footage that they hit you and faked an accident with you.

Taho vendor

Videos of this modus have surfaced up on the internet two years ago. The culprit dresses as a taho (soy pudding) vendor, who usually carries two large tin drums suspended on his/her shoulder. The goal is to get as close to a passing vehicle as possible and pretend to be hit. The banging sound from the tin drums and the car’s body will rattle the driver, who will eventually stop and jump out of the vehicle. The culprit will try to arrange the situation by asking for a certain amount of money instead of filing for a complaint.


Usually composed of kids who throw eggs on cars’ windshields on purpose, this gang usually operates along roads with overpasses or footbridges, which they use as a platform to perform their acts. The egg yolk clouds the windshield, which gets worse when swabbed off by the windshield wipers. Once the window gets cloudy, the driver will then be forced to step out of the vehicle. The attackers will then ransack the car while the driver checks his/her window. If you end up in this situation it's highly recommended that you do not use your wipers and simply drive off to a much more secure location to clean your windshield or go to a gasoline station and have it cleaned there.

The “ipit bote” modus is quite clever and simple - placing a plastic bottle in between the wheel and wheel arch. Once the car moves, the bottle will create a crackling noise as it gets squashed by the wheel. The sound would make it look like a component inside the car broke, making the driver assume something’s wrong. The actual crime takes place when the driver steps out the vehicle to assess the problem.

car snatch

This happens to cars with rolled-down windows, often in traffic jam situations. The modus is performed by at least two individuals: one who performs the distraction and one who does the actual robbing. In some cases, mobile phones are snatched from the passenger’s hand while he/she is using it.

plate number

The laglag plaka modus involves a person or a group of individuals showing the victim’s plate as if it fell out of the target car. When the victim steps out to confront the one holding the plate, the worst things happen. Things like kidnapping, mugging, or carnapping can happen if the operation runs smoothly.

If ever one of these cases happen to you, make sure to stay calm and don’t resist as much as possible. When you see a window to act, immediately call the authorities or dial the local police hotline. You may also avoid these by locking all doors, keeping your windows up when stuck in traffic, or driving to the nearest and safest location when something’s wrong with your car. Remember to always pay attention to the surroundings and observe defensive driving at all costs. Installing a dashboard camera with a driver-facing camera is also highly recommendable, as it will be your first line of defense against these road crimes.

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