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05 February 2008

Mobile access to INTERPOL databases helps Croatian police snare car thief

A check against INTERPOL’s databases by a police officer patrolling a motorway in Croatia has led to the arrest of a man and the recovery of a car just four days after it was stolen in France.

The officer conducted the search via a mobile unit in his police car after becoming suspicious about a Bentley convertible being driven along the Zagreb-Split motorway.

The check instantly revealed the EUR 150,000 car was registered in INTERPOL’s Stolen Motor Vehicles Database after being reported stolen by the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Paris.

The Croatian officer immediately sent an alert to his command centre in Zagreb, which liaised with teams on the ground to set up a roadblock on the highway, where the Bentley was stopped and the driver arrested.

'This case perfectly demonstrates the results member countries can achieve when frontline officers are given direct access to INTERPOL’s databases and Croatia is leading the way when it comes to making the best use of this technology,' said INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin.

'Providing access to INTERPOL’s databases is only part of the story as without the vigilance and swift action of the police officer on the ground this arrest would not have been possible.

'Criminals are becoming increasingly transnational and with fewer regional border control points, it is more important than ever that law enforcement officers in the field are able to carry out instant checks on individuals, the cars they are travelling in or the identity documents they are using.'

In June 2007, Croatia became the first INTERPOL member country to provide police units with direct secure access to INTERPOL’s databases via mobile phones and laptops.

INTERPOL’s Stolen Vehicle database currently contains more than 4.5 million entries and its global Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database contains details of more than 14 million passports and other identity documents from 133 countries.