On Wednesday, 8 May 2019, viamon PV security technology made it possible to clear up a major case of solar technology theft and retrieve the stolen goods. Seizure by police forces took place on the site of a logistics company in Poland. According to initial statements by the Polish police, more than 100 industrial inverters of various types worth over EUR 300,000 and other industrial equipment were seized.
The German-Polish police action coordinated by viamon started with a professionally planned theft of PV inverters in the Leipzig area during the night from April 30 to May 1. What the professional thieves didn‘t know: The stolen inverters had been monitored by viamon security systems that analyse theposition, vibrations, and current location of the solar components around the clock. The time of the theft was well chosen by the professional thieves. They took advantage of the fact that May 1 (“May Day”) is a national holiday in Germany, which meant that fewer people would be on duty on the premises of the solar park, and also the police would operate with a skeleton staff or be busy with other tasks in connection with the traditional May Day demonstrations. The dismantling or theft started on April 30 at 23:32 hrs and took only a few minutes. That was when the viamon system initiated an alarm and automatically started electronic tracing. The equipment was moved via the motorway A9 in northeast direction. As the thieves continued their journey on the A9 towards Berlin, the police – constantly coordinated by viamon – acted very quickly. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Saxony forwarded the case to the CID Frankfurt-Oder within a few minutes, because the thieves were meanwhile clearly on their way from Germany to Poland via the motorways A10 and A12.
That was why the Joint German-Polish Police and Customs Cooperation Centre in Świecko was called in. Since several PV thefts had already been reported in Saxony and Brandenburg in recent weeks, the police believed that the theft was part of a major criminal operation. On the Polish side of the border, the transport came to a halt on 2 May 2019 at 14:00 hrs, just off the motorway E30, about 50 km north-west of Łódź.
The data generated by the viamon system indicated a prolonged stop for reloading or unloading. Since the stolen goods also stayed at the same place the following day, a longer stopover was to be expected, at least over the weekend. Until the following Monday, a local locating device and a mobile task force of the Polish police were sent into the target region. The Polish police were in daily contact with viamon’s operations centre. Seizure then took place on 8 May 2019 – less than one week after the theft had occurred.
The destination was the site of a logistics company that accommodated several trucks, containers and garages. Thanks to the viamon system, the location could be narrowed down to such an extent that action by the police forces was now highly likely to lead to success. After about 90 minutes of searching, these expectations turned out to be true. The police forces on site found several PV inverters that corresponded to the description of the stolen goods and also had the known item numbers. In addition, they found further stolen objects from industrial premises that, as already suspected, were stolen in the course of several reported thefts. Thanks to the viamon system, the team’s experience, and the data at hand, and also thanks to the professional cooperation with transnational police forces, this case of industrial theft could be solved within a week resulting in a successful strike against organised crime. The stolen property is currently being returned to its original owners and in Poland the suspects are temporarily detained and interrogated for 48 hours without bail. The seized stolen goods will also be used for further investigations in connection with unsolved cases of theft