Who was the Belgrade Phantom?


Belgrade Phantom was a man called Vlada Vasiljević, also known as Vasa Opel or Vasa Ključ (Key). The first nickname was given to him because he liked to “borrow” Opel cars, while the other because legend said there was no car in Belgrade he could not open and start without key. He became famous by borrowing Porshe Targu 911f in august 1979. and for 10 days, he was having crazy fast rides in Belgrade, while police was unable to catch him. The car he borrow was owned by Ivko Plećević, a tennis player, who got a car as a price on tournament in Berlin. Belgrade Phantom became a sensation with his fast, acrobatic midnight rides in city center of Belgrade and made crazy Yugoslav establishment at that time. During these days people would go out and wait for phantom’s crazy ride and police’s unsuccessful attempts to catch him. At that time, Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito was at the conference of Unaligned countries in Kuba, and since he was about to return, establishment was making higher pressure on police to neutralize the phantom and put away spectators from the streets. He was marked as public enemy. There was also a story that the rides were dedicated to one girl, however, it was never confirmed. He would call in to the radio shows and announce the time of his ride. Once police tried to block all the exits from the Slavia square by using buses. Vlada point car to a bus and jumped out of the car before the crash and disappear in the mass of spectators who did not handled him to the police. Couple of days later, someone called in police and told them location of Vasiljević, who was then arrested and convicted to 2.5 years of imprisonment. He then managed to escape from the prison over ventilation, however, he returned to prison three days later. He said that he needed to perform one more night ride, in order to make police not thinking that they have won.

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