A SINGLE individual was found to have directed two separate gangs to undertake break-ins and thefts of cigarettes and tobacco from a base in San Blas, a district of Madrid.
Officers of the National Police started investigations in July of last year following a rash of breaks-in at shops and bars which had cigarette machines on the premises.
After stealing high-end vehicles, the group would break into the shops and bars by either breaking windows or if barred by simply driving the stolen vehicles into the shop fronts.
Having gained access, they quickly stole the entire machines and then removed the cigarettes and coins at their convenience using different ‘safe houses’ in Madrid.
At the same time another gang was operating which stole whole container loads of cigarettes and tobacco which they then sold on the ‘black market.’
All of the robbers took advice on how and where to undertake the robberies from a shadowy criminal mastermind and paid him a cut of the value of each robbery even though he wasn’t physically present.
The gang involved in hijacking trucks moved as far afield as Albacete and Alicante and stole fast luxury vehicles to not only transport them to the target lorries but to escort them once the hijacks had taken place.
This particular group was so cocksure that they used to film themselves speeding along the motorways at up to 240 kilometres per hour and they used these vehicles to crash into other vehicles.
A total of 10 people were arrested in seven simultaneous raids and officers recovered €2,125 in coins, tools to commit break-ins and 16 damaged stolen cars, one of which could be proven to have been involved in 13 robberies covering 2,000 kilometres in a single week.