In Moscow German and Russian Lada brand vehicles are hijacked most often, said official representative for Moscow Criminal Police Ivan Gorbunov.
According to him, in 2003, 44 percent of the vehicles hijacked in Moscow were Russian Lada brand, 13 percent were Audi, 10 percent – Volkswagen, 5.5 percent – Mercedes, 5 percent – BMW.
Mr. Gorbunov said that there is a stable demand in Russian market for these vehicles. Hijacked Audis produced before 1997, are mainly taken to garages where they are dissembled for parts. Audis produced after 1997 are registered for new owners outside Moscow with forged documents. Business class vehicles, such as BMW X5 and Mercedes G, are taken to East Siberia (Novosibirsk) and South of Russia (Krasnodar and North Caucasus regions).
According to Mr. Gorbunov, most hijackers in Moscow are the residents of this city, while criminals attacking motorists are predominantly natives of Caucasus region (Ingush and Georgians).
There are several types of criminal groups in Moscow. Some groups “work” near big supermarkets, often in cooperation with pick-pocket thieves. Hijacking vehicles from motorists’ garages has also become a common crime recently.
There is no alarm system hijackers cannot cut off. The police say that criminals easily neutralize even satellite alarm systems.
Mr. Gorbunov considers vehicle insurance as the best means of protecting motorists. The police representative strongly recommended the motorists leave their vehicles only in guarded parking lots.
In 2003 16,874 vehicles were hijacked in Moscow, this is 3,000 more hijacked vehicles than in 2002. In 2003 the police found criminals for 1,419 cases of hijacking.
On February 26, 2004 Russian Interior Ministry released the information on the statistics for vehicle hijacking in Russia. 41 percent of vehicle hijacking took place in the center of Russia, many crimes of this sort take place in St-Petersburg, Ural region, East Siberia and the Far East. In the Far East Toyta holds the record among hijacked vehicles.