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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Car Thieves Go Free

MOSCOW () -- Russian police have to free more than 80 percent of all detained car thieves annually because current legislation does not distinguish between joyriding and "real" theft, a top Interior Ministry official said Tues-day.

Colonel Yury Lyashev, deputy head of the ministry's crime investigation department, said at a press conference that police had detained 29,000 people suspected of organized car theft in 1993.

About 4,500 of them were sentenced to imprisonment, but only 280 got more than three years. The remaining 84 percent were freed, Lyashev said.

Most detainees get off on joyriding rather than car-theft charges, he said