Crime Watch

Luckless Car Thief Runs Out of Gas

Sep 06, 2006
The Moscow Times

A car thief with a tragicomic record of heists gone awry was arrested Thursday morning after the Volkswagen he had stolen ran out of gas in rush hour traffic, police said.

Traffic police arrested Alexei Ashurin, 30, at around 9 a.m., after the 15-year-old red Volkswagen he was driving ran out of gas near Tsaritsino Park in southern Moscow, police spokesman Valery Buzovkin said.

"The officers helped him push the car off to the side of the road to clear the way for cars behind him, but then they noticed that something was fishy," Buzovkin said. "There was a screwdriver sticking out of the ignition, and the lock on the door had been damaged."

Volkswagens are the most commonly targeted imported vehicles by car thieves in Russia.

Ashurin, who has been convicted for car theft and drug possession in the past, did not even try to talk his way out of the situation, Buzovkin said.

"After the officers asked to see his documents, he immediately told them he had stolen the car," Buzovkin said, adding that Ashurin broke down and cried in front of the arresting officers.

Ashurin has been charged with theft and faces up to two years in prison if convicted.

It apparently was not the first time that Ashurin ran into technical difficulties while plying his trade.

The suspect told police that his previous conviction stemmed from an incident in which he stole a car from an auto repair shop, Buzovkin said.

"The owner of the car left it at the shop to get the brakes repaired, and [Ashurin] stole it from the lot," Buzovkin said. "But the brakes had not been repaired yet, and when he tried to stop at a red light, he went through the intersection and slammed into a Jeep."

Ashurin also told police that on another occasion, he passed out drunk behind the wheel of a car he had just stolen. He abandoned the car after getting in a single-car accident, Buzovkin said.

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