TALLINN – Earlier this month, a BMW SUV worth 50,000 euros was stolen from an address in the Haabersti district of Tallinn, and although the alleged thief, a Lithuanian citizen, managed to leave Estonia with the vehicle, he was arrested by officers in Latvia following a request by Estonian police.
On the morning of January 16, the owner informed the police about the theft of the BMW X6 overnight.
Jana Zolotarjova, leading investigator at the serious crime unit of the Criminal Bureau of the North Prefecture of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, said it was established that the stolen vehicle had crossed the Estonian-Latvian border and was en route in Latvia, which information was forwarded promptly to the police there.
"We thank the Latvian police for their swift action. As a result of joint action, the car was identified and Latvian police officers intercepted the car with the 24-year-old driver inside already the same morning, before 8 a.m.," Zolotarjova said.
"The proceedings are still at an early stage, so it is too early to say whether the man was acting alone or in conjunction with someone else. However, past experience shows that such cross-border crimes are generally committed in groups. We will clarify the facts in the course of the criminal proceedings," the investigator said.
The man detained in Latvia is a Lithuanian citizen. After the detention, he was brought to Estonia and placed in custody by a court.
Zolotarjova noted that car thieves operate mainly at night.
"If people notice unusual activity in their neighborhood, such as slow-moving vehicles, suspicious strangers, please report this to the police immediately so that the information can be verified," she said.
Residents can also protect their cars with keyless ignition system by purchasing special bags that make it difficult to amplify the key signal. The keys can also be placed in a closed metal box for safety.
A criminal investigation has been opened.