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One of the arrested men. Guardia Civil
Thieves posing as tourists raid luxury properties on the Costa del Sol and steal cash and jewellery worth 600,000 euros
Crime

Thieves posing as tourists raid luxury properties on the Costa del Sol and steal cash and jewellery worth 600,000 euros

The gang from Poland would fly into Malaga Airport, rent a car and then move along the coast - like any other holidaymaker - before hitting their targets and then head home without leaving a trace

Juan Cano

Malaga

Friday, 19 January 2024, 10:39

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It was always a short stay. Five, seven... at most ten days. The audacious gang would land at Malaga Airport without a return flight ticket, hire a car and move along the coast like any other tourist. As soon as they had completed their goal of raiding top-end villas, they would return to Poland, leaving barely a trace.

On one of these trips, in May 2023, the elusive gang made off with a 600,000-euro haul. In a matter of days, they hit two luxury homes on the Costa del Sol. The first, in Casares, where they seized cash and jewellery worth 570,000 euros. In the second, in Benahavís, they stole another 30,000 euros. And then they left.

The two crime incidents, which had very specific characteristics, coincided in dates with another series of incidents in the same locations when thieves broke into two other homes, a third property under construction and stole two cars.

The high number of cases in less than a month caused alarm among local residents in Benahavís and Casares. Guardia Civil officers had a pile of complaints on the table. On analysing them in search of a common pattern, they discovered that they were not dealing with one gang but two.

Police investigators detected differences between the two modus operandi used and determined that the first two thefts, which were much more sophisticated, were the work of one gang, while the other five thefts, which were much smaller, were the work of another. They had only coincided in time.

With regard to the first two, officers deduced that the thieves knew the movements of the home owners, the existence of valuables inside and essential information such as the security alarms in the property, which showed that, before travelling from Poland, the criminals had prior information from local collaborators.

At the same time, officers managed to identify and arrest the second gang, made up of Spanish nationals, as well as recover 47,000 euros amassed in the five crimes against property attributed to them, according to the force.

Police investigators suspect that the gang of 'tourists', the Polish thieves, found out about these arrests and changed their area of operation. Instead of travelling to the Costa del Sol, they moved to the Levante area of Spain. In fact, the four suspects were eventually arrested just as they were about to board a plane at Alicante airport bound for Poland. Their hand luggage was seized, in which they were carrying 52 pieces of jewellery and 4,480 euros in cash. On examining the seized jewellery, it was discovered that part of it came from two thefts committed days earlier in the Alicante towns of Pilar de la Horadada and Torrevieja. The value exceeded 30,000 euros

In addition to recovering the cash, the Guardia Civil seized transmission devices and small recording cameras. Police investigators consider the gang to be specialists in this type of theft, which they committed without violence, as they waited for the exact moment when the house was empty to force a door or a window.

According to an investigating officer, one of the four Polish nationals arrested had a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Netherlands in relation to nine robberies committed there between 2003 and 2004. "Everything points to the fact that they had been doing this for years," the source said.

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