Police Held For Theft at Crash Site

Two policemen in Perm have been apprehended on suspicion of stealing valuables from the victims of the Aeroflot Nord airliner that went down in the Urals city last month, killing all 88 people on board, the Investigative Committee said Friday.

The two officers at Perm's Dzerzhinsky district precinct were detained Wednesday after internal affairs officers discovered the day before that jewelry was missing from the thousands of valuables impounded from the crash site, the committee said in a statement.

The jewelry had been stored at the firing range at the Dzerzhinsky precinct, the committee said.

Perm police and regional Federal Security Service officers cracked the case in less than 24 hours, and all of the stolen jewelry has been recovered, investigators said. Investigators did not disclose the suspects' identities, though one of them has been formally placed under arrest, it said.

If charged and convicted, the suspects face up to five years in prison.

Spokespeople at the Dzerzhinsky police precinct, the Perm city police, the Perm regional police, the regional Investigative Committee branch and the committee's federal branch declined to elaborate on the case.

The confiscated personal belongings of the crash victims include jewelry, cash, electronic devices, clothes and documents, the committee said.

The items have been listed, photographed and organized according to the place where they were found, and they will be returned to the victims' relatives, investigators said.

Alexander Malyshev, head of the Federal Air Transportation Agency branch in the Volga Federal District, said on Oct. 3 that the investigation into the crash could take up to three months.

By law an investigation into such an accident must be completed within 30 days, but "more time would be needed" in this case because of the extent of the damage to the plane, Malyshev said.

The Boeing 737, which originated in Moscow, crashed minutes before the scheduled landing in Perm on Sept. 14.