A COUPLE were released with charges after robbing 47 churches, chapels and rectories in La Coruña and Pontevedra (Galicia).
Guardia Civil officers began to suspect them after they flagged down their vehicle during a routine roadside control and the driver attempted to turn round and drive off.
A search of their car revealed a jemmy, hammers, pliers and other housebreaking tools, together with a large number of keys, keyrings and religious objects.
After finding that the man and wife were previously linked to a robbery from a Vilagarcia church, the Guardia Civil launched an operation resulting in their arrest six months later.
Investigators found that they were responsible for breaking into 47 religious properties and although most of their haul has been returned, a collection of leather-bound volumes worth more than €3,000 has not been claimed.