Rainham gang members jailed for stealing 'over 130' vehicles

Andrius Stanelka (l) and Karolis Stanevicius (r)

Rainham men Andrius Stanelka (l) and Karolis Stanevicius (r) were sentenced for their part in stealing hundreds of cars - Credit: Metropolitan Police

Two Rainham gang members have been jailed for stealing over £3 million worth of vehicles. 

According to the Met Police, the men were members of an organised criminal gang (OCG) which stole and dismantled hundreds of vehicles from London and the home counties. 

Andrius Stanelka, 36, was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday (June 16), and Karolis Stanevicius, 36, was sentenced on March 29. 

Stanelka, of Nelson Road, was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to convert criminal property and conspiracy to steal. 

Stanevicius, of Lakeside, was sentenced to six years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to convert criminal property. 

The latter was alleged to be the gang leader, according to police.

Stolen cars and equipment used

Police recovered stolen cars and equipment used by the gang - Credit: Metropolitan Police

In total, six men have now been sentenced as part of the Met’s investigation. 

Most Read

Det Insp Pete Ellis called the gang “sophisticated and well organised": "Extensive use was made of false identities of both vehicles and the gang, forged documents and multiple bank accounts by those controlling the activity in an effort to evade detection.  

“Evidence of over 130 vehicles stolen by the gang was presented to the court, but the true figure is undoubtedly much higher."

Most of the stolen vehicles were dismantled in the UK shortly after being stolen, with the parts then being exported to Lithuania. 

The Met said officers established that some of the vehicles had their identities changed to make them appear to be legitimate – a process known as ringing.  

Luxury SUVs were targeted, stolen using a method called relay station attack. This involves equipment which enables keyless entry/start systems to be hijacked. 

The gang made use of signal jamming technology to block the signal from tracking devices before taking the cars to one of seven industrial units to be immediately dismantled. 

Following an investigation by the Met’s Organised Vehicle Crime Unit, key members of the group were identified on June 14, 2018 and search warrants were carried out at three addresses in Hornchurch and Purfleet. 

Outside Stanevicius’ address, the Met said they recovered two stolen rung vehicles and over £8,000 inside the property, alongside a bank card for an account that had been set up to launder the proceeds of criminal activity. 

Police also found more stolen rung vehicles and items used for ringing vehicles in two other properties. 

Police said enquiries established that the gang had purchased over 350 sets of blank number plates, each one for use on a stolen vehicle.