POLICE have held four gang members for allegedly stealing luxury watches valued at €320,000 from tourists in Marbella.
Another four suspected members are still wanted under an arrest warrant.
Two of those involved are believed to be waitresses who would point out potential victims to their associates.
The culprits allegedly changed their place of residence every few weeks and used eight different rental vehicles to avoid being detected.
According to local media reports, the criminal gang always operated at night, in groups of two to four people, and would carry out research on their victims before carrying out the robbery.
To do this they enlisted the help of two women who worked as waitresses in two well-known Marbella clubs. The women would apparently point out clients who were drunk and wore expensive watches, and then later other members of the group would assault them in a more discreet area.
The thefts were mostly committed in Puerto Banus. It is believed one of the men would distract the victim while another would tackle them by surprise and steal the watch before fleeing on a motorcycle or in a car.
The crime ring is also believed to be behind several robberies committed in Marbella jewellery stores. It has been reported one of the men would pose as a client, and ask to try on a watch. Other members of the group then went into the store and distracted the employee so the first man could leave the premises unnoticed while he still had it on his wrist.
The police were able to identify eight alleged members of the group after several months of surveillance and retrieved four watches, including two Rolexes valued at €9,000 and €15,000 euros, respectively.
Officers estimated that the organisation was behind numerous watch robberies in Marbella which totalled €320,000 in value altogether.