Guardia Civil nab fruit and tool thieves

Costa Levante News - - FRONT PAGE -

By Shel­ley Lid­dell TWO GUARDIA Civil ROCA bri­gades from Ibi and Tor­re­vieja, spe­cial­is­ing in agri­cul­tural thefts, ar­rested 12 peo­ple in two dif­fer­ent op­er­a­tions.

ROCA teams, as well as keep­ing crops un­der ob­ser­va­tion dur­ing har­vest time, also in­ves­ti­gate all crimes re­lated to coun­try­side life. Tor­re­vieja's ROCA brigade ar­rested seven mem­bers of a Ro­ma­nian fam­ily, four men and three women aged be­tween 28 and 46, in Elche.

This gang spe­cialised in steal­ing sea­sonal fruit grown, then sell­ing it cheaply to peo­ple who would then sell it on at lo­cal street mar­kets.

They are ac­cused of five counts of theft, dis­obe­di­ence, con­ceal­ment, a road safety of- fence and be­long­ing to a crim­i­nal gang. Two Span­ish men, aged 20 and 38 are also un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for re­ceiv­ing stolen goods.

They are thought to have stolen at least three tonnes of lemons and a tonne of grapes from var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in La Mu­rada (Ori­huela), Al­bat­era and Mon­forte de Cid.

The sus­pects were caught while of­fi­cers were car­ry­ing out their usual work of check­ing fruit vans and their loads. Thanks to this, 800 ki­los of grapes and 700 ki­los of lemons, val­ued at €1,600, were re­cov­ered. The per­pe­tra­tors were charged and re­leased pend­ing court ac­tion. A ROCA brigade from Ibi ar­rested five Span­ish men, aged be­tween 22 and 40, for al­legedly be­long­ing to a crim­i­nal gang, rob­bery and var­i­ous counts of theft.

Of­fi­cers were in­ves­ti­gat­ing a theft of agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery from a Novelda farm when they were tipped off about three pos­si­ble male sus­pects from the same fam­ily.

The men were put un­der sur­veil­lance which re­vealed that they would travel through­out the prov­ince, steal­ing from what­ever premises they could, in­clud­ing tools and bi­cy­cles val­ued at €5,000 in Sax and Peter.

They were caught red­handed steal­ing an air-con­di­tion­ing ma­chine in Mont­forte del Cid. The other mem­bers of the gang were ar­rested at their Ali­cante city homes.

All the stolen prop­erty has been re­turned to its right­ful own­ers.

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