The Russian Navy says that a former commander of the now-decommissioned Sovremenny class destroyer Bespokoynyy conspired with others and stole the ship’s two bronze propellers while it was in dry dock being converted into a floating museum. The alleged caper sounds like it was ripped straight from the plot of a comedic Hollywood heist movie, with the thieves reportedly swapping out the pair of screws, each weighing approximately 13 tons, for ones made out of a cheaper metal.
Russian media outlet Interfax reported on Jan. 11, 2021, that Sergei Sharshavykh, head of the military investigation department of the Russian Navy‘s Baltic Fleet, confirmed that the investigation into the theft was nearly complete. The names of the former commander of the Bespokoynyy, or any of their accomplices, and what kind of jail time or fines they might be facing, were not disclosed. The two propellers are valued at approximately 39 million rubles, or just over $522,513 at the rate of exchange at the time of writing.
Sharshavykh, the Russian Navy investigator told Interfax that, to “cover their tracks,” those involved in the theft had imitation screws made up, the “cost and quality of which are several times lower” than the original bronze ones.
The heist took place at the Yantar Shipyard in Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, which is geographically separated from the rest of the country and is situated between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. Kaliningrad, which is heavily militarized as a whole, is also home to the headquarters of the Baltic Fleet.
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