Spain’s National Police force, working in collaboration with the 'Squadra Mobile Napoli', has dismantled a gang made up of itinerant Italian citizens who specialised in the violent theft of high-end watches in Spanish tourist areas such as Marbella, Madrid, Barcelona, Ibiza and Palma (de Mallorca), among others.
Four people have been arrested and another six have been identified and European arrest and surrender warrants have been issued against them.
They are Italian citizens, mostly Neapolitans, who worked in different Spanish tourist areas during the summer months. They chose their victims, usually elderly foreigners, who they watched and followed until determining the ideal moment to pounce when, using violence, they snatched luxury watches from their owners.
The police investigation began during the summer period this year when the presence of Italian individuals, mainly from Naples, was noted. They made trips of a few days, usually in groups of three or four people, spread throughout popular Spanish resorts.
The criminal network allegedly used women as "scouts" in search of their targets. Then the thieves would spring into action, acting without hesitation by beating and knocking their victims to the ground. Meanwhile, another individual waited aboard a motorcycle to escape the scene at high speed. Another accomplice would be located in another vehicle, and was in charge of receiving the stolen watch, to prevent the robbers from being instigated if they were caught.
To avoid being identified, the gang members selected victims who, due to their advanced years, would struggle to recognise them. In addition, they used false documentation and wore hats, masks or motorcycle helmets to hide their identity.