Heist Fail: Russian Troops Steal Millions Worth Of Farm Equipment From Ukraine, Only To Find Out They’ve Been Remotely Deactivated

A group of looting Russian troops must have had a pretty spectacularly sad trombone moment after finding out that the US$5 million worth of farm equipment that they stole — and shipped all the way to Chechnya — have been remotely deactivated.

The equipment, 27 pieces of farm machinery in total, were taken from a John Deere dealership in the city of Melitopol, which has been occupied by the Russians since the beginning of March. According to an unnamed source contacted by CNN, Russian troops started the robbery by taking two combine harvesters — which are valued at US$300,000 each, a tractor, and a seeder. The troops then took everything else from the dealership over the course of the next few weeks.

In what appears to be an organized heist, the equipment was loaded onto flat-bed trucks. Caught on camera, one of the trucks appeared to be a military vehicle and it had a white “Z” painted on it. 

The stolen machinery are equipped with GPS, and the dealership was able to track where they were ferried off to. Some of the equipment was taken to a nearby village, while the others, including the combine harvesters, took a 700-mile overland journey to the village of Zakhan Yurt in Chechnya.

What the Russians didn’t know was that the sophisticated equipment can also be controlled remotely. “When the invaders drove the stolen harvesters to Chechnya, they realized that they could not even turn them on, because the harvesters were locked remotely,” CNN’s unnamed source said.

John Deere, the American farm machinery manufacturer, has been facing flak for years for their inappropriate use of digital rights management. They have prohibited owners to do most types of repairs and modifications, requiring them instead to pay more for “authorized” repairs, and in most cases, wait longer periods to actually get service. This bit about the remote lockup is likely the first time that farmers are celebrating the manufacturer and their technology lockouts.

The Russian thieves meanwhile will likely need to scrap their stolen machines and sell them for parts to try and make the heist even just a little productive.

Information for this briefing was found via CNN and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Views expressed within are solely that of the author. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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