German Police detain PV module thieves

Power production from solar source reached  3.3 billion kWh in March.

The German State Police Office for Brandenburg (LKA) and Polish Police from CBSP Zielona Gora arrested the four men on Tuesday after a joint investigation in the Polish town of Wojciechów. The men, all aged between 35 and 36 and from Poland, are alleged to have broken into solar parks to steal goods and then sell them on several occassions in different areas of Germany. “The joint actions of investigators has successfully led to the concrete linking of the thieves to criminal offences committed in Germany,” said a police spokesperson.

Since August 2016, LKA Brandenburg and CBSP Zielona Gora have worked on a joint investigation on behalf of the Public Prosecutor for Organized Crime. The main focus of the investigation was on burglaries of solar parks in the German state of Brandenburg. In November 2016, LKA Brandenburg and the ‘Helios’ investigative group broke up a Polish gang of thieves suspected of at least 15 attacks on solar parks in Germany.

A landowner has also been arrested as part of the investigation, after around 400 solar modules and two inverters, which may have been stolen, were found installed on private property. The investigation continues. Police have recovered one inverter confirmed stolen from a solar park in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, as well as solar modules stolen from parks in Bavaria and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

A vehicle registered in Poland was found loaded with 21 PV inverters worth €200,000. these came from a robbery at a solar park in Saxony which took place on Sunday night. Three of the men arrested were found inside the vehicle. The inverters were purchased by the arrested landowner, who also admitted that he had received separate deliveries of solar modules.

According to LKA Brandenburg, theft of solar modules in the state is declining. 60 acts of theft were reported in 2015, and 40 in 2016. This year, there has not yet been a single theft in a Brandenburg solar park, the office pointed out. This is a success of the joint operations by German and Polish Police.