Right this moment, if you’re a Vauxhall around Bedfordshire, UK, you’re probably pissing your sump with fear right now. That’s because a mysterious criminal organization dubbed the Vauxhall Cannibals are around, and they’ve brutally stripped or stolen parts from over 500 Vauxhalls so far. Just Vauxhalls. What’s going on?

The Vauxhalls — GM’s British division, known more widely as Opel in Europe and other markets, and here in the US we got a couple Vauxhall/Opels as Saturns — are usually found half-missing. The most common parts to be taken are front and rear bumper skins and internal components, entire front fascias, radiators, front and rear fenders, occasionally doors and more. Some reports only show a bumper cap or a license plate stolen — other cars are just about stripped down to the frame.

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The cars all seem to be Vauxhall Astras and Corsas, which, of course, is what makes this all so strange.

There has been some surveillance footage of the team in action, proving that, despite the name, the criminals are not other Vauxhalls that are eating their fellow Vauxhalls, but rather people. Very, very brand-loyal people, it seems.

So what’s the angle here? Many of the parts are common ones damaged in an accident — perhaps they’re supplying body shops? But why limit to so few models of car? Sure, the Vauxhalls are pretty popular, but there’s plenty of other popular cars. Plus, any of the parts badged “Vauxhall” would have to stay in the UK — the only market where these GM cars are branded as Vauxhalls — to avoid suspicion. Is the market really that huge for stolen Astra and Corsa parts?

And wouldn’t it just be easier for the thieves to just take the whole car, instead of painstaking disassembly on site? Are they selling back the stolen parts right to the original owners, in some astounding perpetual-motion-crime machine?

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Maybe they’re building some colossal robot out of only Vauxhall parts? I’m really not sure. Whatever the reason for the tight focus on these two models of car, it must be a pretty good one, since the Vauxhall Cannibals have been at this, aggressively, since 2013.

If you’re a Vauxhall out there, be safe. Everyone else, I’m ready to hear your wild speculations.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.