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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hijackers Make Off With Kremlin Car




The governor of the Arctic region of Chukotka found himself briefly without transport during a visit to Moscow on Wednesday when two armed thieves hijacked his official limousine.


The Audi sedan was recovered two hours later after traffic police pulled the car over in the Moscow suburbs and arrested one of the thieves, said police spokesman Andrei Kiselyov.


Chukotka Governor Alexander Nazarov was meeting fellow regional leaders Wednesday when his chauffeur, who, along with the car, was provided by the Kremlin's transportation directorate, decided to earn some extra cash by picking up fares.


The two hijackers flagged down Nazarov's car at Ulitsa Kotsyubinskaya at around 11 a.m., police said. After getting into the car, they pulled out a pistol and forced the driver to get out.


The hijacked Audi was stopped by traffic police at the intersection of Ulitsa Ryabinovaya and the Moscow Ring Road only two hours after the hijacking, Kiselyov said.


The driver was arrested and is now in a Moscow temporary-detention facility. He will be charged with aggravated robbery before the end of next week, the spokesman said.


Kiselyov said police are still looking for the hijacker's accomplice, who got out of the car before it was intercepted by police. Kiselyov refused to identify either of the alleged thieves.


The chauffeur was fired immediately. Kiselyov said the driver "paid dearly" for the temptation to earn some cash to complement his salary.


Reached by telephone Thursday, an official at the presidential administration's transportation directorate wouldn't comment on the incident.


He admitted, however, that the directorate's drivers sometimes ignore warnings and try to earn extra cash, moonlighting as gypsy cab drivers. He said up to 10 of the directorate's cars are stolen or hijacked every year.