In the early morning of 9 December 2015, in a coordinated police action (Operation Sprinter) to tackle organised motor vehicle crime, five European Arrest Warrants were executed. The arrest warrants were issued by Germany’s Public Prosecutor Office in Frankfurt/Oder and simultaneously executed in the Gorzów area of Poland and in Whitby, United Kingdom.
Polish police officers and their German colleagues from the state office of criminal investigation in Brandenburg arrested four gang members at their homes. A fifth suspect had fled to the UK but was arrested in Whitby thanks to close cooperation between Brandenburg and English police. During six house searches extensive evidence was seized including mobile phones, navigation systems and electronic devices used to commit offences.
Polish and German police authorities worked together in a joint investigation team (JIT). A JIT is an investigation team set up for a fixed period, based on an agreement between two or more EU Member States and/or competent authorities, for a specific purpose. It facilitates the international cooperation and exchange of information.
The whole operation was supported by Europol which participated in three operational meetings with the involved authorities, facilitated information exchange and provided in-depth-analysis. The action day was supported by two Europol analysts on the spot to extract data from seized devices and to cross check this data with Europol databases to enable immediate follow-up investigations.
This action was part of an umbrella investigation by Brandenburg police. It started already in 2013, focusing on mobile organised crime groups from several countries involved in the theft of several hundred cars.