Wednesday 08 December 2021

Film fame dawns for Dutchman who went to Iraq to recover stolen cars

The story of a Dutch car rental company boss who went to Iraq to find and bring back two stolen luxury cars might be turned into a film, the AD reports on Tuesday.

Mark Stroop from IJsselstein was so angry when he saw the cars heading for the Middle East, thanks to the onboard tracking system, that he decided to get them back.

Stroop, who plans to write a book about his escapade, is now in touch with a producer and a film director about filming the story. ‘The publicity has had an enormous impact,’ Stroop told the AD on Tuesday.

Tracking system

His adventure began when Stroop rented the black Opel Cascada and silver Volkswagen Golf to two people named by the AD as Sherzad and Mehmed. Stroop followed the progress of the cars on the onboard tracking system.

“I do that sometimes,’ he told the AD. ‘Then I saw the cars were in Turkey when they were due back the next day. Then they continued in the direction of Syria. I thought, my god, I’ve rented them to jihad fighters.’

He continued to monitor the cars, which were not yet officially stolen and saw them move to the border with Iraq. Efforts to involve the Dutch ambassador were too late.


According to the AD, the cars were not insured, which would have saddled Stroops with a €75,000 loss, something his company could not afford. ‘I had to get them back,’ he told the AD.

Enlisting the help of a Kurdish Dutchman who had good Dutch and Iraqi contacts, Stroop headed for Iraq. A friend of his contact even chucked a Kalashnikov rifle on the back seat of the car they rented on arriving in Iraq. ‘He thought it was important, we had to take it,’ Stroop said.

The local police force in northern Iraq were keen to help recover the cars but by this time the tracking system had been removed. After three days of intensive efforts, when Stroop was on his way back to the Netherlands, the phone call came.

The cars had been found and the thieves arrested. After a lot of paperwork, Stroop was able to return to Iraq to pick up the cars.

Stroop wrote down his adventures which he sent home in sections while in Iraq. ‘I had no idea if I would ever get home,’ he told the AD.

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