Retail theft cases in Estonia up more than 50 percent from last year

Thieves have created a hole in a shop wall. This picture does not illustrate the incidents reported in the story.
Thieves have created a hole in a shop wall. This picture does not illustrate the incidents reported in the story. Source: SCANPIX / DPA

According to data provided by both ERGO Insurance and the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA), there have been far more incidences of retail theft registered so far this year than at the same point in 2022.

This June, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) recorded 497 cases of thefts from shops. Last June, the figure was 315.

There were therefore 57 percent more retail theft cases this June than during the same month last year, with an increase in such incidents also noticeable throughout the year, according to head of ERGO Insurance's commercial claims department Erko Makienko.

"This year's increase in thefts is clearly noticeable. ERGO Insurance has had to deal with several cases, which resulted in very large losses, as well as some smaller cases," said Makienko.

Makienko gave the example of a case in a bicycle shop, where thieves used a rock to create a hole in the door glass, before removing two electric bicycles with a total value of €6,000. 

An even more costly incident took place at an electronics shop, where two criminals got away with a range of items totaling €48,000 in value. Among the goods stolen were phones, tablets and drones. Remarkably, although the shop was under surveillance and well protected, with security guards arriving on site within 14 minutes, the thieves had already left on ATVs," Makienko said. 

According to the ERGO Insurance, costly thefts are also on the rise in other areas, as well as from shops. In the first half of the year, the company has already had to deal with several incidents involving criminals targeting watercraft for instance.

In one incident, two motorized yachts and some navigation equipment were stolen from a closed area of the port, at a total value of nearly €20,000.

"Thefts from boats are more likely to be done to order," said Makienko.

"Somebody needs to have specific details. These thefts are planned in advance. The 'right' object is selected and the necessary tools are used. There are very few random thefts in this sector, of the sort where something catches the thief's eye, then they grab it and run," Makienko said.

However, occasionally there are incidents that appear to be more spontaneous. In one case, thieves attempted to remove an outboard motor from a sailing school's boat, for instance.

Thefts from construction sites have also been on the rise this year, with criminals targeting expensive tools. "It is certainly a good idea to review your security measures, ensure that alarms are working and cover the right area," Makienko said.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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