OFFICERS from the Guardia Civil have arrested five Bulgarians, four men and a woman, who were involved in the removal of exhaust pipes and catalytic converters from cars in France and Spain.
The group would park next to their target car and simply remove the exhausts and transport them to a warehouse in the Valencian town of Quartell where they crushed the ceramic discs in the catalytic converters to extract platinum, rhodium and palladium contained in them.
According to the officers, drivers were not immediately aware of the problem when they turned on the engine and started the car but it became obvious in the course of driving.
It has been established that the gang were involved in at least 69 of these thefts across Valencia and Alicante in Spain and Perpignan in France and is suspected of at least a further 200 thefts of the same type.
One of the gang was involved in a recycling business and it was he who arranged for the sale of the various reclaimed metals which were valued at an average of €30 per gram. When the Guardia Civil raided the properties of the members of the gang, apart from old exhaust systems they discovered six vehicles, diamonds, €26,000 in cash, expensive watches and various tools used in their crimes.