A member of a criminal group that has stolen nearly 100 yachts in the last two years has been arrested in Moscow. The most recently stolen ship was a $2 million Ghost 3 yacht. The thieves fled from the Turkish port in Marmaris.
A Jeanneau 64 Ghost 3 yacht was hired from the Marmaris yacht club on July 13 by two Russians, who disconnected the sailboat’s tracking device and, disappearing off the radar, headed in an unknown direction.
On July 19, when the rental period ended, the company contacted the coast guard, which in turn sent a request to Interpol, which established that the vessel had left Turkey’s territorial waters.
The investigation discovered that the theft was coordinated by an entire group. According to the Turkish newspaper Istanbul Haber, the 8-person group is led by retired Russian Navy colonel Oleg Popilov and its financier is a certain Nikandrov Sergey Nikolayevich.
Having planned the operation in advance, all members flew to Turkey on July 11 and 12 and stayed in three different hotels. They held meetings in a local confectionery. On July 13, Alexey Roshchanovsky and Anatoly Shutov, bringing along the two ladies Viktoria Maskina and Dinara Anshakova with them as a diversion, hired the yacht from the local yacht club.
Once at sea, the company disconnected the automatic identification system and put it on a remotely controlled toy boat in order to create the impression that the yacht was adrift in the bay of Marmaris.
In actual fact, by July 16, the sailboat was already outside of Turkey’s territorial waters, and the four remaining accomplices had flown to Moscow. However, when Interpol was informed about the theft on July 20, it responded swiftly.
Anatoly Shutov, who hired the Ghost 3, was arrested in Moscow. The remaining criminals, including Oleg Popilov, have been placed on the international wanted list. During the investigation it was discovered that the group had been stealing yachts for at least 4 years.
The crafty thieves, possibly inspired by the Ocean’s movies, stole 49 boats in the Mediterranean Sea in 2018 alone. In 2019, the group captured another 37 vessels. The method has been identical in each case. Only 6 of the stolen yachts have been found so far.