Thieves Steal Hundreds of Swedish Speed Cameras and No One Knows What's Happening

Thieves steal hundreds of Swedish speed cameras 6 photos
Photo: Aftonbladet
Thieves steal hundreds of Swedish speed camerasThieves steal hundreds of Swedish speed camerasThieves steal hundreds of Swedish speed camerasThieves steal hundreds of Swedish speed camerasThieves steal hundreds of Swedish speed cameras
Over 160 speed cameras on Swedish country roads have mysteriously disappeared in the past two months alone. According to the police, the thieves strike along rural roads, often employing blunt force to get to the tech inside.
Although reports of speed camera thefts have appeared in August, no one yet knows what’s the motive behind this worrying trend. After a short pause, the theft spree resumed in October, with police investigating roughly 160 cases. It can cost up to 250,000 SEK ($22,700) to replace each camera and repair the damage.

The speed cameras are housed in cabinets containing a flash, radar, processor, and camera. Only the latter is valuable to the thieves, who leave everything else behind. The modus operandi is always the same: thieves use a saw or even drive over the speed camera cabinet with a car to smash it to the ground. This is different from previous random acts of vandalism recorded in the country. The vandals usually strike newly installed units by spraying the lens.

This time, the strikes are systematic and widespread. Considering Sweden has about 2,300 speed cameras spread around the country, the 160 stolen cameras amount to 7%. It is unclear what prompted the mass-stealing of speed cameras, but it certainly means that some entity has placed a huge order for the valuable parts.

Rumors mount about the cameras being used in drones by the Russian military. Nevertheless, the police do not want to speculate, citing the need to protect the open investigation. They have already arrested one person, which is a Swedish national. “We do not want to speculate about the motives,” a police spokesperson told SVT. “We are conducting a preliminary investigation and will see what it is about. We cannot rule out that there will be more arrests.”

The customized Nikon cameras inside the speed traps use a fixed-focus lens to photograph the driver and the license plate from 50 feet (15 meters) away. According to the NYT, which cites Swedish Police, it’s not possible to adjust the lens, and they would be out of focus at any other distance. But they are DSLR-grade high-quality cameras, and we’re sure creative minds can find a purpose for them.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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