Europol hosted vehicle crime experts from 15[*] countries from 10 to 13 September 2013 at its headquarters in The Hague, to target vehicle crime in the European Union and Switzerland.
Initiated by Lithuania under its Presidency of the Council of the European Union, international Operation LitCar was supported from Europol’s coordination centre, where intelligence was exchanged with hundreds of police, customs and border guards to support their efforts in tracking down specialist criminal gangs stealing high value vehicles.
Law enforcement officers across Europe worked at ports, borders and car dealers to identify stolen vehicles and the organised criminal gangs behind them. The operation also allowed law enforcement to identify new trends, modus operandi and potential trafficking routes. Officers had direct access to a wide variety of databases including those with data on cars manufactured in Germany, Italy and Sweden. Interpol was also present during the operation and offered access to its international databases and worldwide law enforcement network.
The operation produced some excellent results including the recovery of a high number of stolen vehicles and parts, as well as arrests of suspects connected to organised vehicle crime. Some of the preliminary results are:
More than 50 stolen vehicles recovered in Romania, 15 stolen vehicles and 1 truck recovered in Lithuania, 14 stolen vehicles seized and 22 suspects arrested in Germany and 10 stolen vehicles identified in Belgium.
In some of the countries illicit drugs were also seized during the actions taken by the law enforcement authorities.
Overall results from the 26 participating countries in Operation LitCar are still being assessed but the final outcome is expected to be as successful as the similar 2012 Operation Cycar, when 160 stolen vehicles were identified, 75 people were arrested, and drugs and weapons were seized.
[*] Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom