8.1 Cars, lorries and construction plant
Tackling cars, lorries and mobile construction vehicles presents
its own problems, which set them as a class apart from other hits.
In general the important parts of the system are concealed behind
rigid steel enclosures making them difficult to access. The control
systems are normally inside a cab, locked behind doors and tough
glass. Finally, and most importantly, the intrinsic value of these
machines means that they are more likely to be alarmed so that
sabotage becomes difficult or impossible.
Cars and vans are probably the most difficult to damage effectively
- although it is often a simple matter to immobilise them in some
way. These days not only does the vehicle have motion and vibration
detectors, but even the bonnet and petrol cap are lock and alarmed.
Taking on vehicles therefore requires a lot of thought - in at
the beginning of any planning for the hit you may even decide
to exclude cars and vans.
Simplified car construction (figure 0)
Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are a different matter. In many cases
although the cab itself may be alarmed, the way the vehicle is
built makes vulnerable parts easier to get hold of. In particular
the fuel and electrical systems, and the engine/power train, can
be easily reached by clambering underneath. Unlike cars, where
cutting the brakes means the car can't stop, with many HGV the
airbrake systems means that if the air isn't there you can get
the brakes off - this makes them an obvious target.
Basic layout of heavy goods vehicles (figures 23/24)
Earth movers, JCBs and dumpers are more difficult. This is not
only because they are more enclosed than HGVs, but the components
are generally made to withstand greater damage. Unless you can
get the body panels off you only options are to go for the accessible
parts of the hydraulic system, the fuel tank filler pipe, the
cab (if it is not alarmed) and the tyres/tracks.
Example of typical earth mover (figures 25/26)
8.2 General sabotage options
When first approaching a vehicle you need to consider three things...
- Is it likely to be alarmed?;
- Are there enough accessible parts to effectively achieve the
objective of the hit?;
- Would my time be better spent on something nearby?.
In general you should assume that any locked vehicle is alarmed
- but if you have planned the hit to allow for activating the
alarm without attracting attention then that's OK. HGVs present
the most fruitful target when alarmed, but cars do not because
the vibration sensors will detect and sharp banging. The simplest
option with cars is to drill the tyres - this makes very little
vibration, and they go down fairly slowly so that the rim of the
wheel doesn't land with a jolt.
The issue of accessible parts is also important. If you are able
to sugar the fuel, irrespective of anything else, you can consider
the job done. But to be sure you really need to do some work on
other parts of the vehicle. The hydraulics is the obvious choice
on earth movers, and the electrical/air systems are the obvious
choice on HGVs. With cars, if you are very gentle, you may be
able to get underneath and crush the fuel line closed, or reach
up from underneath into the engine cavity and cut some wires.
Finally, if you have a choice between a car, and an HGV next to
it, it is obvious which you do first - the HGV has more accessible
parts. Likewise if you had a pound full of cars which were covered
in alarms, but the security gate had an number of strong locks
on it, you would glue up the locks on the security gate.
Whatever tactic you apply, you should still use the energy flow
analysis of the system to target the parts of the vehicle it would
be most effective to sabotage.
8.3 Engine and fuel systems
The fuel tank on most cars is located at the rear, underneath
the boot. A metal pipe then runs from the tank, underneath the
chassis to the fuel pump mounted on the engine block. Draining
or cutting this system will deprive the engine of fuel. If you
wished to take the drastic action of setting fire to the car,
you could also cut/drill this system to provide the fuel to start
the fire. If you ever need to syphon fuel from a vehicle, cutting
the fuel pipe or making a hole in the tank is also quicker and
safer than trying to chisel off a locked petrol cap. But beware
- draining fuel tanks can cause a lot of pollution, unless you
catch the fuel in a can or tray.
These same rules apply to HGVs - the only thing is that diesel
is less volatile, and consequently harder to set fire to. The
easiest way is to pile some paper and wood in a heap, put diesel
on the paper, and then set fire to the 'dry' pieces of paper.
Engines are difficult to get at because they are locked under
bonnets, or in the case of the HGV, you often have to hinge open
the whole cab. The options are therefore limited. You could drain
the oil by taking out the sump plug, but this will show up when
the engine is started, and draining the oil, especially from HGVs,
can cause a lot of pollution.
If you can get the bonnet open, you should first go for the spark
plugs, or on diesel engines, the injectors (see diagrams earlier).
If you want to make a really good job, find the oil filler cap,
or the dip stick hole, and try getting some abrasive material
into the engine (see the 'abrasives' section of volume I). Grinding/polishing
powder is best (because its hard) but sand will do as a substitute.
8.4 Brakes and hydraulic systems
You should never cut fluid brake systems on cars or vans. This
is because all power to the brakes will be lost. Air brake systems
on HGVs can be cut - but carefully so that you don't injure yourself
- because the brakes are held off by air pressure, and
cutting the pipes means the brakes won't come off.
Hydraulic systems are a problem, partly because of the dangers
of the equipment moving/collapsing. There is also the matter of
pollution arising from the leaking hydraulic fluid.
Choosing which pipes to cut is a matter of what you tooling capability
is. If you have good bolt cutters then hoses up to 1" diameter,
and pipes up to 0.5" should present little problem. Where
bigger pipes are involved, you should consider drilling them with
a small (2mm) drill bit. If the parts are accessible, it is more
effective to go for the manifolds and valves - they are more expensive
and take longer to replace. To rally damage the hydraulic rams
you need a power drill and a specially hardened drill bit suitable
for cutting hardened steel.
8.5 Electrical systems
If the vehicle is switched off, then apart from the leads coming
from the battery to the solenoid, and the lighting system, the
wires should have no power running through them. Even so, apart
from the battery leads, cutting other cables will have little
effect because any short circuit will involve low voltages, and
the fuses should blow.
It can be difficult to identify specific parts of the electrical
system, except for the simple things like the distributor cap/plug
leads, and battery leads. In general it is often easier to just
cut everything quickly. Also, rather then cutting a cable once,
try to cut one or two inch sections from the cable - this means
they have to be replaced rather then just joined back together.