After decades fighting organized crime, Marijanas Bogdziunas now spends his days crafting state-of-the-art high-precision lasers. The retired criminalist has become the head of electronics production at Litilit. His story proves it’s never too late to make a career change. The laser tech company recognised and valued his skills, and today he’s contributing to its successful growth. And loving it.
From electronics engineering to police work
Marijanas’s fascination with radio electronics goes back to his early youth. That was a hobby of his, and in classes at school, too, he enjoyed building and soldering electronics. He liked physical activities as well, though, taking up boxing, karate, and a bit later, shooting. That mix of interests would guide his career choices.
When he left school, the young electronics enthusiast did not hesitate to enrol at Kaunas University of Technology. In 1984, he graduated from there as an electronics engineer. For three years, Marijanas worked at a company that made tape recorders and other electronic devices, but soon he felt a strong attraction for work in law enforcement. He got the opportunity to become a police officer, and he jumped at it.
“Back in those days, all it took was a university degree and a strong desire. The specific knowledge needed for the job was given in intense, concentrated form. In my case, it was a 12-month training course for criminal police officers. I learned about operational and criminal police work and the basics of criminal law,” he says.
After two years of service at a police station in Vilnius, Bogdziunas joined the Organized Crime Investigation Service. He started as an inspector and later became a department head. There, in the wild 1990s, he played an active role in the investigation of high-profile crimes that resonated throughout Lithuania.
“The terrifying stories from that period have some basis. It was a time of wild racketeering, of organized crime groups competing for dominance, and we had more murder cases than ever before,” he recalls of what was a difficult time for the country.
Using technical knowledge in law enforcement
Bogdziunas took his work in law enforcement very seriously. He completed further studies at Mykolas Romeris University and obtained a master’s degree in law. But he did not abandon his long interest in radio electronics. Far from it. The fight against organized crime required the use of a variety of technical tools, and he was very well prepared to do that. His knowledge of electronics was particularly useful when investigating murders and attempted murders involving explosives.
“From the fragments left at the scene, I was able to identify the mechanism used to initiate the explosion. When we found a suspect and searched their house, I was also able to identify the individual components and link them to a specific crime,” the former officer explains.
One criminal investigation where Bogdziunas’s tech experience was very useful was that of Valerijus Januškevičius, Lithuania’s most famous hitman. The case of the so-called “Vilnius Bomber” remains engraved on Bogdziunas’s memory. He visited the scene of the events himself, looking for ways to outsmart the criminal who had carefully planned his every move. In the end, he notes, his success in this and other cases was due not only to his technical knowledge but also to his efforts to understand the behaviour of the criminals. Still, the technical knowledge helped.
From criminalistics to electronics – and not alone
After more than 30 years in law enforcment, Bogdziunas was ready to retire and do something new, ideally involving his decades-long electronics hobby. Litilit just happened to be looking for an electronics specialist at the time, and the former officer was a perfect fit. He joined the team with great naturalness and within a short time even became the Electronics Production Manager.
“Working at Litilit is like a hobby. I really enjoy it. Electronics requires creativity, so there’s no routine. I start the day in a good mood, and I end it the same way,” the electronics specialist comments.
With backing from Nikolajus Gavrilinas, the CEO of Lililit, Marijanas spoke about his new career, and related opportunities, to three of his former colleagues from law enforcement. Thus, three more retired officers joined the laser company. Two of them are also graduates of electronic engineering.
“When people leave the police, it’s not always easy for them to find their place and figure out what to do next. In fact, there are many areas where people like that are needed. Litilit’s integration of ex-officers into its team, something that started with me, is a great example of how untapped resources can be found in today’s labour market too. All we need to do is point people in the right direction,” he concludes.