Vitalijus Belovas, aged 41, Vitalijus Bakutis, aged 39, and Ramunas Radzevicius, aged 26, were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court earlier today, May 23.
The trio were charged with conspiracy to steal over a series of thefts from BMWs involving parts worth more than £600,000, including steering wheels, dashboards and iDrive in-car control systems.
The charges covered a total of 49 offences – 19 in Northamptonshire and one in Lincolnshire, committed between April 1 and May 3, 2018, and 29 in Kent committed between November 8, 2017, and January, 14, 2018.
Belovas, of no fixed address, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to steal and admitted two counts of possessing false identity documents. He was sentenced to four years for the conspiracy charges, and two months for the false document charges, to be served consecutively.
Bakutis, of Scholars Court, Northampton, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to steal and admitted two counts of possessing false identity documents. He was sentenced to a total of three years and six months.
Radzevicius, formerly of St Andrew’s Street, Northampton, was sentenced after admitting two counts of conspiracy. He will serve a total of three years and four months in prison.
Speaking after sentencing, Detective Inspector James Larkin, of Northampton CID, who led the Northamptonshire Police investigation into the trio’s crimes across the country, said: “I welcome these sentences and am really pleased to see justice done for those who suffered as a result of the actions of three selfish and calculating criminals.
“These were sophisticated thefts by a gang which used a mixture of technology and brute force to break into cars and steal high-value parts, leaving vehicles written off or requiring thousands of pounds’ worth of repairs.
“They took pains to ensure they weren’t detected or disturbed while they committed their crimes, tampering with security devices, taping over headlights and silencing vehicle alarms to give them the time they needed – in some cases as long as 90 minutes – to take what they wanted.
“Belovas, Bakutis and Radzevicius acted as if they were above the law. Today’s sentence shows that they are not, and sends a strong message that those who commit theft of any kind are liable to be pursued to the full extent of the law.
“The nature of these crimes also demonstrates why vehicle owners should take care to store their keys securely. Never leave them near doors, windows or cat flaps, and use a metal tin or Faraday pouch to prevent keyless entry signal readers being used to gain access to your vehicle.”