$5 Million European Car Theft Ring Dismantled

Authorities in multiple European countries dismantled a transnational organized crime group responsible for the theft of more than 300 high-end cars, according to a Europol and Eurojust press release on Tuesday.

 Police arrested 19 people in coordinated raids in Germany, Italy, and Romania. The criminal group allegedly stole luxury vehicles in Italy, France, Spain, and Belgium, and then sold them to customers in other European countries. The auto-theft netted a profit of more than $5 million, according to the press release.

Independent investigations into car thefts in Italy, Germany, and Romania were integrated by Europol and Eurojust at the behest of Italian authorities in 2012, a Eurojust spokesperson told OCCRP. The spokesperson highlighted the transnational nature of many organized crime groups, and likened them to the structure of companies which operate in multiple territories. Because these groups are so decentralized, authorities out to break them must work through synchronized, coordinated means, he added.