Have you ever bought a stolen car?

It works like buying a car on the Internet or from a trusted dealer: the customer orders the vehicle type, can request the color and equipment and later receives exactly what was on the wish list. The Japanese are particularly in demand at the moment, according to the police. But the cars are not bought, they are stolen to order.

This act could have gone exactly like this: On the night of March 18, strangers steal a white Nissan Qashqai from Weinbergstrasse. The car is nine years old and is still worth around 10,000 euros. Such vehicles are regularly put on the police wanted lists. However, it is uncertain that the vehicle will reappear. If stolen cars are not discovered on the way abroad, the chances of ever seeing them again decrease.

The police report such cases almost every day. Another example: A gray Skoda Octavia, built in 2010, disappears from Leipziger Strasse on Thursday night. The car is still worth around 13,000 euros.

The fact that the number of stolen cars is increasing is not correct, say the police. "The development is declining," explains Kathlen Zink, deputy spokeswoman for the State Criminal Police Office (LKA). In January and February 2019, it was around a third lower in Saxony than last year. This also applies to Dresden. In February 2019 in particular, the number of stolen cars was significantly lower than in 2018. She does not want to give absolute numbers, this is reserved for the Interior Minister when he will soon present the Saxon crime statistics for the past year.

Kathlen Zink gives two reasons for the falling numbers: on the one hand, the successful work of Soko Kfz. This is a special commission active throughout Saxony, in which specialists from several departments work together. These include investigators from the State Criminal Police Office and the Görlitz Police Department. Among other things, they go out on search missions on the A4 motorway, inspect and repeatedly find stolen cars. The LKA explains the work of the Soko is about increasing the search pressure on the perpetrators.

On the other hand, the “targeted persecution of organized Czech and Polish gangs who move cars across borders is contributing to the falling numbers,” says Kathlen Zink. The result: the number of car thefts in Saxony has been falling since 2015.

The perpetrators do not have a geographical focus. However, proximity to the motorway is already an issue, says Zink's colleague Tom Bernhardt. Because then the thieves can disappear particularly quickly with their loot. According to motor vehicle investigators, country roads are also playing an increasingly important role, because the perpetrators expect less police presence there than on the highways.

Places with a particularly large number of cars in a confined space are particularly promising for car thieves. That could be parking lots in shopping centers and inner city areas, says Bernhardt. Such places "where the perpetrators have a wide choice".

And this is how the car thieves proceed according to the police: They search specifically for the vehicles that have been ordered. In particular, they are currently targeting Mazda and Toyota vehicles and “usually steal relatively new car models,” says Zink. Criminal professionals only need a few minutes to crack a car. Crowbars are no longer an issue. Electronic helpers who overcome immobilizers and automatically renew key data are more important. For this purpose, the perpetrators have "special theft tools" at their disposal. With laptops or specially developed electronic diagnostic devices outsmart the safety technology of modern vehicles. Then it only takes seconds to drive away in the stolen car.

A successful investigation by the police on February 14th confirms the investigators' findings. In Johannstadt, the officers arrested two men who tried to steal a Mazda from Pfotenhauerstrasse. A local resident saw the duo tampering with the car shortly after 4 a.m. The car owner was lucky because the thieves failed to start the engine. The police discovered the suspects near the vehicle. You have been arrested. They were two men from Poland. They had burglary tools with them, about which the police did not provide any further details at the time.