Criminal gang specialised in attacks on ATMs using explosives is dismantled

by Lorraine Williamson
ATMs gang arrested

In a joint operation with the National Police, the Guardia Civil have dismantled a criminal organisation specialised in attacks on ATMs using explosives.

The gang created a metallic artifact that they filled with pressed gunpowder obtained from the interior of large firecrackers to which they attached a resistor.

Later, they connected it to an electric battery at the time of the attack, thus initiating the detonation. They managed to steal more than €200,000 from the ATMs of two banks. They also caused extensive and significant damage to the premises, leaving them practically destroyed and at risk of collapse.

Not just attacks on ATMs

Furthermore, their criminal activity was much broader than attacks on ATMs. They operated throughout Spain in areas such as Toledo, Madrid and Valencia. Here, they committed robberies with force against companies or in industrial buildings using previously stolen large-cylinder vehicles.

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Operation Relámpago

The investigation began in July of last year when they carried out their first attack on a bank. On this occasion, they stole over €120,000. Then, three months later they committed a new act in which they seized €90,000 using the same method. A third attempt took place in January. However, this time, they were not successful as the safe of the ticket dispenser had been reinforced with an anti-explosion system.

After numerous inquiries, it was possible to connect the participation of this group in other robberies. In particular, crimes committed in the towns of Gandía (Valencia) and Alcobendas (Madrid) stand out, as they stole more than 700 mobile phones and €10,000.

Search and seize

At the beginning of March, nine searches were carried out between Madrid and Toledo, one of them in a commercial ship. During the searches, police intervened tools and effects for the commission of the robberies as well as material for the opening and theft of vehicles. In one of the searches carried out, a marijuana plantation was also located.

  • 54 crimes
  • It was possible to dismantle this criminal organisation, whose six members are considered alleged perpetrators of 54 crimes. These include the following;
  •  robberies with force using explosives x 3
  • robberies with force from companiesx 10
  • vehicle thefts x 30
  • robbery with violence and intimidation
  • crime of attack on an agent of authority
  • belonging to a criminal group
  • two crimes of damage
  • documentary falsification
  • theft of license plates
  • crime against public health
  • crime against road safety
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