Prolific robbers behind bars
Three men aged 26, 28 and 54 as suspected of breaking into rental homes
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.