LYON, France – The arrest in Montenegro of a suspected member of the Pink Panthers, an international gang of jewel thieves, highlights the vital role of police closely co-operating and sharing intelligence and critical police data against transnational organized crime, a senior INTERPOL official has said.
Bojan Vuckovic, a Serbian national aged 24, who is wanted in Austria following his alleged role in an armed robbery against a jewelry shop in Vienna in November 2008, was arrested and detained during a check by Montenegro police at the Montenegrin-Serbian border, after they identified him on the basis of nominal information supplied by Austrian authorities. Following close liaison between police in Montenegro, Austria and Serbia, supported by INTERPOL’S Command and Co-ordination Centre and Project Pink Panthers unit co-ordinating the worldwide campaign against the gang at INTERPOL’s headquarters in Lyon, Vuckovic’s identity was confirmed by the Austrian authorities.
Fingerprint checks carried out by INTERPOL’s Command and Co-ordination Centre also produced a positive match with the fingerprints of an alias allegedly used by Vuckovic.
With INTERPOL in July 2007 having set up Project Pink Panthers, an international cell co-ordinating worldwide police intelligence across its 188 member countries against the gang, the arrest of Vuckovic in Montenegro represents the latest in a series of arrests of Pink Panther suspects in recent years by police worldwide working in liaison with INTERPOL’s Pink Panthers Project, including high-profile arrests in Cyprus, France and Monaco.
“Vuckovic’s arrest once again demonstrates the benefits of law enforcement around the world sharing essential information which can be followed up by police on the ground and produce results, in particular in the search for fugitives,” said INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin.
“INTERPOL therefore congratulates the Montenegrin, Austrian and Serbian authorities for their collaborative efforts which led to the arrest of this wanted individual,” added Mr Louboutin.
With the Pink Panthers gang suspected of carrying out a series of jewel robberies worldwide worth in excess of 250 million Euros over the past ten years, investigators and INTERPOL’s Project Pink Panthers unit will seek to draw on the latest elements following the arrest of Vuckovic to pool and review investigative information to help identify further members, accomplices and other crimes linked to the gang.