In a collaborative effort between the Guardia Civil and the Policía Nacional, a notorious criminal organisation dedicated to burglaries in upscale residences has been successfully dismantled.
The operation resulted in the arrest of 15 individuals. Police also confiscated €10,000 in cash, three weapons, six high-end vehicles, and 15 mobile phones.
The criminal network composed of both Albanian and Spanish citizens. Furthermore, is suspected to have committed over a hundred burglaries across various Spanish provinces.
Surge of house burglaries
The investigation was initiated in late January following a surge in break-ins in single-family homes. This was particularly in the provinces of León and Asturias. Subsequent data suggested the existence of a complex criminal network, primarily comprised of Albanian nationals, with the assistance of Spanish individuals handling logistical tasks such as renting vehicles and finding accommodations.
Although based in Catalonia, the criminal organisation exhibited considerable mobility throughout Spain. They operated through five cells of highly specialised Albanian individuals skilled in interior home thefts. These cells, consisting of three or four members each, had specific roles, including a surveillance driver and an assault team responsible for breaking into homes.
Remarkably swift in their actions, the criminals spent no more than five minutes inside a targeted residence. Their preferred time of operation was between 8.00 pm and midnight, predominantly focusing on single-family homes in northern Spain. The modus operandi involved scaling fences or walls to gain entry, ensuring a rapid in-and-out strategy. The criminal group reportedly utilised nearly 30 different vehicles for their various robberies and movements.
The criminal organisation maintained an international dimension, operating within a larger hierarchy. Funding for their “robbery campaigns” and the enforcement of a highly hierarchical structure supposedly came from a superior criminal organisation with international reach. This overarching organisation was reported to have members in France, Italy, Albania, and Germany, with one of the detained individuals identified as the perpetrator of a 2016 robbery in Germany.
Search and seizure
In November, a coordinated operation led to the arrest of 15 individuals, accompanied by five search and seizure operations in the province of Barcelona. Following judicial proceedings, one of the arrested individuals was remanded in custody, signalling the continuation of the ongoing police investigation.