Dutch police rounded up a notorious band of thieves this weekend and, during the raid, discovered nearly $600,000 worth of stolen iPhones. Authorities suspect that the Romanian burglars used a perilous method of thieving that involves grabbing the expensive goods out of the back of a cargo truck as it races down the highway.
The iPhones disappeared on July 24, and Dutch police are fairly certain that the theft occurred as the truck sped down the road.
“The truck was taking its freight from A to B and did not stop. Even so [the phones] were gone,” Dutch police spokesman Ed Kraszewski told the BBC. “So it must have happened that way. And now we finally have the evidence, with the van and the loot.”
This sort of heist, shown in the video below, is dubbed the “Romanian Method” and involves pulling a car up to the rear bumper of a delivery truck as it barrels down the road.
Here’s how the “Romanian Method” works:
1. Two brazen thieves then climb out through the sunroof
2. One thief lays splayed over the hood and breaks the lock
3. The other thief holds tightly to the lock-breakers ankles.
4. Once the cargo door is opened, they have unfettered access to the goods therein.
There is no specific footage of the iPhone heist itself, but Romanian police previously captured this haphazard (though apparently effective) strategy in 2012, using a night vision camera on a helicopter. In this case, the thieves did not complete the high-speed burglary, abandoning the effort before lifting the door, so the electronic merchandise made it safely to its proper destination.
Perhaps the gang become aware of the helicopter whirring above them, and thought it best to find another truck to furtively burglarize — at some 70 miles per hour.
Since 2015, this gang is believed to have looted 17 trucks using this innovative method. The thieves hideout happened to have been located nearby the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands, home to the world’s second largest collection of Van Gogh paintings, although there is not yet any evidence that the thieves had designs on the post-impressionist art. Unless the paintings were ever to be transported by truck, the thieves might never have had a realistic shot of pilfering them, anyhow.