Sometimes not even a black belt in martial arts can save you, or your car. Last Sunday, Moscow's popular model and glamour girl Anna Loginova died trying to prevent her Porsche Cayenne SUV from becoming one of the 14,000 luxury cars stolen in Moscow annually.
Loginova, 29, wasn't just a pretty face -- she was a trained bodyguard who ran her own all-woman security company. But her defense training and instincts may have worked against her.
Driving through a neighborhood in southeast Moscow, on her way to pick up a kitten she had found in an ad, Loginova stopped at an intersection. A silver, Russian-made Zhiguli sedan pulled up, and a man jumped out, dragged her out of her SUV, got in and started to drive away.
"That's when her profession as a bodyguard backfired," said psychologist Mikhail Vinogradov, speaking on Russian TV. "She reacted instinctively."
She grabbed the door handle of her Porsche and, according to police investigators, it is likely that her hand got caught. The speeding SUV dragged Anna down the road, and she died from head injuries. Her body was found later that evening.
"This is a mistake even seasoned police officers make," Vinogradov said. "Someone grabs something from you; you react automatically to stop them. If she had not resisted, she would have just lost her car and not her life."
Loginova was a well-known Moscow model, celebrity and socialite. Scantily clad, she adorned the covers of men's magazines. Posh brands, so coveted by newly affluent Russians, hired her for their advertising campaigns. She became the Russian face of Chanel and BMW.
"Nothing in life is accidental," she had told Maxim magazine. "When advertising for BMW, I had to take an advanced driving course. Then I met a person who took me to a firing range and put a gun in my hand. I realized I got a kick out of fast driving and firing a gun, so why not use those skills professionally? A friend gave me the idea to set up a women's bodyguard agency. I took courses, and here I am."
Loginova advertised her all-woman security agency on the Web site of the Stilet -- "dagger" in Russian -- private security company. The demand for companies providing personal security to rich Russians is huge, perhaps even disproportionate to the admittedly high crime rate. A bodyguard is a status symbol. Being seen in your new sleek car without your very own bodyguard is just so démodé.
Loginova found a niche in the nearly saturated market. She provided bodyguards for rich men's ladies -- wives and mistresses alike.
"Anna opened the business in 2005," Stilet managing director Sergei Yegorov told ABC News. "She recruited and trained the staff. She also worked as a bodyguard herself."
In Maxim, Loginova explained: "No one will think that a pretty face can have a hidden gun and may actually use it when attacked. And a shapely body helps to disarm the assailant. He'll stare at you and forget what he was there for."
Most Russians still remember a time when owning a car was the ultimate luxury. To this day automobiles are treated with a reverence far exceeding their function.
A spokesman for Moscow's traffic police told ABC News that 110,500 cars -- most of them expensive luxury vehicles -- were stolen in Russia in 2005 alone.
"It's organized business," he added. "People put in a request for a particular luxury model they have their eye on, and the gang steals the car. Recently in Moscow we had a theft report on a $200,000 Rolls Royce. Many of the orders now come from Central Asia — Kazakhstan, Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan. With modern car alarms and immobilizers, car thieves need to be more cunning and often more brutal as they can only steal the car by attacking the owner."
Loginova was in a confrontation with a would-be car thief just a few months ago and came away unharmed.
"I get out of the car, and just then a young man rushes up to me and grabs my hand to snatch the keys," she told Maxim. "I immediately used jujitsu on him. He ended up with a twisted arm and my elbow in his face. I took out my gun and aimed at him, but at that moment a car drove up and he jumped into it. To tell you the truth, I didn't expect that everything would work out so well."
Last Sunday she was less lucky. The Porsche Cayenne that she'd given her life for was dumped not far up the street from where it was carjacked.