Italian Police, working with Europol and law enforcement agencies in Germany and Latvia, have dismantled an organised criminal gang and seized 38 stolen luxury vehicles with an estimated value of EUR 2 million.
The operation resulted in 12 arrests and 106 individuals were reported to judicial authorities on various charges including fraud, forgery and criminal conspiracy at the end of October. House searches were conducted in 22 locations, resulting in the identification of 70 stolen vehicles in Italy, Germany and Latvia, 38 of which have been recovered.
Operation Tacka was launched following the analysis of reports of stolen off-road high-value vehicles from Parma, Italy, and neighbouring provinces. Investigators discovered that the vehicles – normally four-wheel drive Porsches, BMWs, Range Rovers and Mercedes – were being ‘stolen’ with the complicity of the car owners, who had often purchased the vehicles on lease.
The luxury cars were ‘hijacked’ en route, mainly in Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom, after which the owners were then generously compensated by the criminal gang. Among the final destinations of the stolen vehicles were almost all EU Member States, as well as some North African and Eastern European countries, where the cars were re-registered using forged certificates of ownership, and their histories obscured.