Serial snowboard thieves collared

Two Dutch men are facing charges for stealing dozens of snowboards at a ski resort in Tyrol.Police in Ischgl – one of the most popular winter sport resorts in Europe – said today (Thurs) that the pair were caught red-handed as they tried to snatch boards left outside an après ski bar on Tuesday evening.Officers put the men aged 20 and 28 in custody after finding 40 snowboards in the back of their car. The suspects admitted having nicked more than 100 boards in the region to sell them online at bargain prices.Austrian police have already contacted their colleagues in the Netherlands to confiscate possibly stolen sports equipment at the men’s apartments in Utrecht. Tyrolean officials are currently trying to find the owners of the boards which were discovered in the men’s vehicle.More than 2,700 cases of ski thefts were reported in Tyrol, Austria’s biggest winter sports region, in 2009. This was a 13.2 per cent year on year increase. The number of thefts of skis rose in five more of Austria’s overall nine provinces from 2009 to 2010.An overall 4,576 pairs of skis – six per cent more than in 2008 – and 838 snowboards, up by 13.7 per cent year on year, were nicked across the country in 2009.Some newspapers have criticised that only a fraction of reported cases are solved by police, while authorities appealed on tourists to be more careful.Police suggested that holidaymakers should lock their skis when leaving them outside pubs and restaurants with special devices. They also said placing each ski separated from the other one at prepared areas in front of mountainous gastronomy businesses could reduce the risk of having them stolen.