Violent armed robbery gang rounded up

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Photo: Guardia Civil

National Police have broken up a violent gang of armed robbers who specialised in raids on jewellers and homes on the Spanish east coast, according to a spokesperson for the force.
Nine suspects are accused of stealing jewellery worth over €1 million from a shop in Cartagena, a robbery of a house in Bétera (Valencia) and two violent robberies in Torrevieja and Orihuela Costa.
So far, there have been nine arrests and officers have recovered jewellery, watches and weaponry including several firearms.
The Cartagena robbery took place on January 6 in the district of La Palma, where a woman disguised in a wig entered a jewellers and threatened the owner with a firearm, which she fired inside the shop before fleeing within minutes taking a large amount of jewellery.
Specialised Guardia Civil detectives determined that it could have been the work of an experienced, travelling gang thought to be related with other similarly violent deeds, whose members lived extravagant lifestyles considering they had no known employment.
Officers intercepted two high-end vehicles on the way from Portman (Murcia) towards Alicante and arrested the five occupants, three men and two women, then afterwards arrested two more alleged members of the gang at a police station.
The vehicles contained three firearms, blank firing ammunition, an electric stun pistol, numerous doses of marijuana and cocaine, falsified documentation, and jewellery and watches worth about €63,000, all of which was confiscated along with one of the vehicles.
The robbery in Bétera was committed at a house by two masked men with firearms, who threatened and hit the occupants with a gun and made them hand over €40,000 and their mobile phones, the spokesman continued.
The investigating officers determined that only a few people close to the victim knew certain details, which led them to a person who allegedly helped to plan and carry out the robbery.
They also established that the robbery had been carried out to order and the gang had worked like this on previous occasions.
The gang apparently used GPS trackers to follow victims and attack them when they were most vulnerable, usually when they were returning home to get into their house and violently demand they open safes and hand over any valuables.
The suspects are also accused of raids on a home in Torrevieja and a jeweller’s in Orihuela Costa, attacking their victims with repeated blows to the head with a pistol.
In two more searches, in Murcia city and Santomera, officers seized two kilos of hashish, a pistol, a replica assault rifle, bullets, two self-defence sprays, two GPS trackers, and clothing and props used to commit the robberies, as well as various evidence of involvement in other crimes.
As a result of the searches, one more suspect was arrested, bringing the total to nine so far, five of them women and four men aged between 18 and 48, but the operation remains open.
They face charges of robbery with violence and intimidation, illegal possession of firearms, drug dealing, drug dealing, falsifying public documentation, motor vehicle theft and belonging to a criminal organisation.

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