The group, who who were targeting high-value keyless entry vehicles including BMWs, Range Rovers and Mercedes AMGs worth up to £130,000 each, were identified after a major investigation by Leicestershire Police.
The thefts happened across at least 10 different force areas with gang members carrying out different roles to target and steal the vehicles during the early hours before driving the vehicles away to be stripped down to parts.
The parts would then be sold online or transported by lorry out of the UK via ferry port to Lithuania.
But on 18 February 2019, when Leicestershire Police officers were called to a report of three Range Rover vehicles being stolen in the Oakham area, an immediate response led to one of the defendants Juozas Paulauskas, of Boston, being arrested near to the scene.
Investigations then led to other members of the gang being identified and All were arrested and remanded into custody with a significant reduction in keyless thefts of vehicles then being noticed across the region.
In total there were 57 vehicle thefts police were able to prove that had been committed by members of the gang across 10 police force areas, but officers believe the scope of the offending stretched far beyond this.
Four of the defendants were sentenced Leicester Crown Court this week – three were sentenced previously in January this year.
Valdas Bajorinas, 35, of Guildenburgh Crescent, Whittlesey, near Peterborough, was identified as the “boss” of the crime group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and concealing criminal property, and was sentenced to a total of seven years and two months.
Juozas Paulaskas, 30, of Smalley Road, Boston, Lincolnshire, was found to be a key player in organising and being involved in the thefts and movement of parts, responsible for employing people, paying, overseeing and identifying work and vehicles for the group to target.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and concealing criminal property and was sentenced to a total of six years and four months.
Edgaras Balcinas, 29, of Burrows Close, Boston pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and was previously sentenced to four years and two months imprisonment.
Gintaulas Kancevicius, 51, of Church Green Close, Fishtoft, who rented units where vehicles were found being stripped down into parts and further stolen parts recovered, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and concealing criminal property and was sentenced to a total of three years and 10 months.
Jonas Steponavicius, 22, of Blue Street, Boston, who police found to have driven vehicles which were stolen. Steponavicius pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and going equipped to steal. He was previously sentenced to two years and eight months imprisonment.
Oleg Suchovcov, 27, of Smalley Road, Boston, who police found to have been involved in breaking the stolen vehicles down into parts. He pleaded guilty to concealing criminal property and was previously sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment.
Justas Urbanavicius, 21, of Powell Street, Boston, who police found was also involved in breaking stolen vehicles down into parts. He pleaded guilty to concealing criminal property and was sentenced this week to two years and six months.
Detective Constable Lucy Chafer who was involved in the operation said: “This has been an extremely long and complex investigation to bring a gang who were involved in millions of pounds worth of vehicle thefts to justice.
“The group had no consideration for their many victims as they targeted high value vehicles and worked in a sophisticated manner to try and avoid being caught. But the determination of the investigating team has ultimately led to them all finally having to face up to their actions in court. Organised crime offences remain a priority for us in force and we continue in our work to bring those involved to justice.
“We would advise owners of keyless entry vehicles to take steps to help prevent theft of your vehicle. This includes keeping your key inside a Faraday bag which blocks signals from reaching your key or alternatively keeping it in any metal container to block signal transmission.”