Pro­lific rob­bers be­hind bars

Three men aged 26, 28 and 54 as sus­pected of break­ing into rental homes

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Samantha Kett

Sus­pected of at least 50 rob­beries in the area

THE GUARDIA civil ar­rested three men of Al­ge­rian ori­gin (two of them with Span­ish na­tion­al­ity) in Ali­cante on Wed­nes­day in con­nec­tion with at least 50 bur­glar­ies in the Calpe and Benissa ar­eas. The three, aged 26, 28 and 54 years, are charged with 50 rob­beries, six ve­hi­cle thefts, three crimes of ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion theft, var­i­ous crimes of forgery, and be­long­ing to a crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion.

It took the Guardia a few months to dis­man­tle their band, which had been cre­ated by three male mem­bers of an Al­ge­rian fam­ily set­tled in Spain, a fa­ther and his two sons (both with Span­ish na­tion­al­ity). They ded­i­cated them­selves to com­mit rob­beries with force in the re­gion of the Ma­rina Alta, all of them rental homes, whose own­ers spent long pe­ri­ods away from them.

Of­fi­cers from the Guardia Civil from Calpe and Benissa tried to in­ves­ti­gate some of these rob­beries, which had oc­curred in Calpe, Benissa and Mo­raira, when one of the mem­bers of the ex­tended fam­ily, with nu­mer­ous pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal con­vic­tions, was seen by a wit­ness in the vicin­ity of one of the af­fected homes.

The de­tails were sketchy, with just a phys­i­cal de­scrip­tion and a model of car. Re­searchers then stud­ied the faces of sev­eral known crim­i­nals which matched the traits de­scribed and the modus operandi of the sus­pects, and one of them was recog­nised by the wit­ness af­ter be­ing shown pho­to­graphs.

The of­fi­cers did not have any in­for­ma­tion on the where­abouts or the ha­bit­ual res­i­dence of the sus­pect, but by a stroke of luck, or by the mis­take of one of the mem­bers of the group, a tablet stolen from one of the houses was turned on and re­ported its ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion. This lo­ca­tion, de­spite not be­ing ac­cu­rate, helped re­searchers di­rect their in­quiries to a district of Ali­cante.

With this start­ing point, the Guardia be­gan a sur­veil­lance op­er­a­tion at strate­gic lo­ca­tions where the ge­olo­ca­tion of the tablet had lo­cated the pos­si­ble cul­prits. In just a few weeks, the Civil Guard had by then lo­cated the three al­leged mem­bers of the or­gan­i­sa­tion. It was then nec­es­sary to ob­tain con­sis­tent ev­i­dence to cul­mi­nate the op­er­a­tion with their ar­rests.

Af­ter sev­eral days of com­pli­cated track­ing, and try­ing to not be dis­cov­ered, agents found the ev­i­dence they needed. One man had a ve­hi­cle parked near his home, and it was be­ing used as a ‘store’ to keep stolen items. With that, they moved to an- other district of Ali­cante, where the fam­ily had other ve­hi­cles that had been stolen in the raided houses. They had changed the reg­is­tra­tion plates to match those of sim­i­lar ve­hi­cles.

Their modus operandi was then al­ways the same. They left their ‘stor­age ve­hi­cle’ in Ali­cante, and with one of the stolen cars, they headed to the Ma­rina Alta to mon­i­tor and study dwellings which they even­tu­ally bur­gled. They chose homes usu­ally owned by for­eign­ers, and used for hol­i­days. Nor­mally ve­hi­cles would be kept in garages, and so af­ter lo­cat­ing the keys, they would load the stolen car with the goods they had stolen and drive it away.

Thanks to the great amount of re­search un­der­taken by the agents of the Guardia Civil, a sig­nif­i­cant amount of the ob­jects stolen in more than 50 homes were re­cov­ered, which was greatly ap­pre­ci­ated by all of those af­fected.

They man­aged to lo­cate and re­turn to their own­ers 6 ve­hi­cles, some of them val­ued at more than €60,000, all of them with false num­ber plates or plates from other ve­hi­cles which had also been stolen. They also dis­cov­ered more than €13,000, £2,100 and $350 in cash. Jew­ellery of all kinds, in­clud­ing rings, neck­laces and bracelets, 15 lap­tops, 20 tablets, 13 mo­bile phones, 30 watches, more than 30 pairs of sun­glasses, one tele­vi­sion, sound play­ers, per­fumes, lux­ury hand­bags and five mem­ory cards, among other ob­jects were also re­cov­ered.

The op­er­a­tion, de­vel­oped by re­search agents of the Guardia Civil of Calpe and Benissa. ended with the ar­rest of the three men.

Af­ter be­ing placed at the dis­posal of the ju­di­cial author­ity, the fa­ther was de­tained in prison whilst the two sons were re­leased on charges.

Re­search con­tin­ues, and it is pos­si­ble that more crimes will be as­so­ci­ated to them.

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