Authorities out-foxed the thieves of a collector’s edition Bugatti – after pretending to be would-be buyers of the vehicle.
The sting operation came after the burglary of a house near Castres, in southern France.
The crime saw a number of items stolen from the house – including a children’s electric ‘Bugatti Baby’ car costing around €140,000.
During their investigation into the crime, the anti-burglary unit was contacted by the president of Bugatti France, alerting them that he had seen the special model up for sale on the second-hand site Leboncoin for €15,000.
Officers then posed as buyers, arranging to buy the vehicle at the nearby village of Bout-du-Pont de l'Arn, where members of the Gendarmerie of Castres and the brigade anticriminalité were waiting to ambush.
The seller was arrested and placed into custody, followed later by his colleague.
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Limited edition car easy to spot
Although a number of items were stolen during the burglary, the ‘Bugatti Baby’ was the most expensive.
It is a scaled-down version of the 1920s Type 35 Bugatti.
The traditional combustion engine of the Type 35 is replaced by an electric one, allowing children to drive the car. It has a capped top speed of up to 68km/h.
Only 500 of the most recent ‘Baby II’ limited edition models were built, and the rarity of this vehicle alongside its unique design made it easy to spot when the thieves tried to sell it online a few weeks later.
After being notified of the vehicle online, police services started communication with the sellers to set up the sting.
Car returned safely
The car was later returned.
The suspects, men aged 23 and 25, have been charged with aggravated robbery and theft.
It is unknown whether the thief or thieves targeted the house specifically for the vehicle or whether they simply stumbled upon it during the burglary.
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