A Belarusian organized crime group involved in international cargo thefts has been dismantled by the German Police Department Heidekreis, in cooperation with the French Gendarmerie and Czech authorities, the German State Criminal Police Office of Saxony-Anhalt, EMPACT OPC, and Europol.
The group was targeting trucks on motorway rest areas and parking lots to steal the cargo. The group is suspected of having been involved in almost 60 offenses in the German state of Lower Saxony alone. The total damage committed totals over €500,000. The main geographical focus of the group was near the city of Hannover. Since December 2018, the Police Department Heidekreis (Federal State of Lower Saxony) had been investigating the organized crime group of at least six Belarusian offenders.
During the investigation, the information exchange via Europol showed that the group had been responsible for previously committed cases in France. It also became clear that the organized crime gang purposefully entered the European Union for the reason of committing crimes. In addition to several cars, the perpetrators had various lorries to load the cargo directly at the crime scene and to transport them abroad. As part of a coordination meeting, initiated and financed by the EU funded project Cargo and organized by Europol, information was exchanged between the Police Department Heidekreis and the French Gendarmerie. This cooperation enabled the intensification of further covert measures. Another operational meeting followed in the summer of 2019.
This October, four members of the organized crime group, including its ringleader, were caught red-handed in Germany. In the course of this arrest, a truck with stolen TVs was seized. Further investigations are ongoing.