Two organisations which specialised in stealing luxury SUVs in less than 29 seconds have been busted in Malaga.
Nine people have been remanded in custody including two accused of being Europe’s leading specialists in car theft
Police say the stolen vehicles were sold to drug traffickers based in the Campo de Gibraltar area and to other groups who, after forging their documentation, resold them abroad
The network had several garages where they hid the latest tools and electronic devices they used for thefts
Agents of the Guardia Civil and the National Police, say the people arrested in the joint operation are Spaniards, Italians, Bulgarians and Lithuanians and aged between 21 and 55.
They are suspected of the crimes of membership of a criminal organisation, theft with force and falsification of documents.
Among those arrested are two individuals considered to be two of the greatest European specialists in car theft, with the capacity to steal a vehicle in less than 29 seconds.
Seven cars stolen from housing estates in the provinces of Huelva, Malaga and Madrid have been recovered, and numerous electronic materials and specific tools for vehicle theft have been confiscated, as well as a semi-automatic pistol, various types of ammunition, false State Security Forces and Corps plates, a police flash gun and numerous blank keys, among other effects.
Police investigations began in mid-April 2019, after a spike in the number of luxury vehicle thefts was observed in the provinces of Madrid and Malaga. The first information led to the conclusion that one of the most important criminal organisations involved in illicit vehicle trafficking, composed entirely of individuals who had reorganised after leaving prison, could be found behind these events.
The investigations determined that this criminal organisation was based in Malaga, although its members moved temporarily to different parts of Spain to commit the crimes, mainly Madrid and the town of Lepe in Huelva. They especially chose luxury housing estates where a large number of luxury off-road vehicles can be found.
All these investigative steps gave their first results with the identification and arrest of two members of the organisation when they stole two high-end vehicles in the Madrid districts of Hortaleza and Chamartin.
Subsequently, three garages were located in Estepona, La Caleta de Vélez and Algarrobo, all in the province of Málaga, which served to hide the stolen vehicles and the effects they used for the events.
Of particular importance was the garage located in Algarrobo, rented with false documentation, where a vehicle valued at €180,000 was recovered. Clues found there allowed the police to find those allegedly responsible for the criminal organisation.