Swedish Speed Cameras Are Mysteriously Disappearing From The Roads And Some Believe They’re Being Stolen For Russian Drones


For the second time this year, a rash of thefts has hit Sweden’s roads. The target? The cameras inside automatic speed limit enforcement devices, which has led some experts to believe that the spree is being funded by Russia.

Sweden started installing speed cameras in 2006 along rural roads, and since then, the expensive pieces of technology have gone largely untouched. Sure, occasionally an angry driver might knock over a post or spray paint the lens of the speed camera, but Swedish authorities hadn’t seen thefts of the tech inside the machines until this August.

According to The New York Times, as many as 70 speed cameras were destroyed in just eight days in August. Thefts have picked up again in October, and according to, nearly 150 speed cameras have been damaged in the last two months.

Read: Anonymous Gives Moscow A Massive Traffic Jam After Hacking Taxi Hailing App

That’s an immediate problem for the government, as the Swedish Transport Administration reports that each camera costs about 250,000 SEK ($22,786 USD at current exchange rates) to replace.

The crime spree may have bigger implications, though. Unlike those early acts of vandalism, this recent spree of thefts has specifically targeted the cameras inside the speed control units, leaving other high-tech equipment like the radar sensor and the processor behind.

The degree to which the thefts have targeted the cameras has led experts to ponder what the motive behind these thefts is. Some are pointing the finger at Russia, whose invasion of Ukraine has led to technological sanctions against it.

“The thieves come from somewhere, but the buyers come from somewhere else,” Lars Wilderang, an author and military blogger, told the New York Times. “You don’t do these kinds of big systematic thefts unless you have someone ordering the products.”

Experts suggest that Russia might be putting the cameras, customized Nikon units, into military equipment like drones. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry, meanwhile, claims that quickly cobbled together drones with Canon cameras and plastic bottles turned into fuel tanks have participated in attacks against it, according to Aftonbladet.

Swedish authorities, though, have not confirmed the link between the thefts and the Russian military. For one thing, the lenses used in speed cameras are not adjustable and can only focus on something 50 feet away from them. Swedish police, meanwhile, say they don’t want to speculate on what remains an open investigation.

“There is a lot of speculation going on. We do not want to speculate about the motives,” a police spokesperson told SVT. “We are conducting a preliminary investigation and will see what it is about. We cannot rule out that there will be more arrests.”


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