FIVE ROBBERS that broke into 12 homes across the southern Costa Blanca that belonged to mainly elderly people have been arrested by the Guardia Civil. In two cases, the criminals took their victim ́s car and drove to bank machines in a neighbouring town to try to empty out their accounts with their stolen bankcards. Three Algerians and two Moroccans were rounded up in three sets of arrests in January and February in Pilar de la Horadada and Torrevieja. The first swoop in mid-January saw the gang leader, a 42-year-old Algerian, arrested as he was trying to leave Spain. Last month, Guardia officers were met with violence as they took down three men in Torrevieja, and then they detained a 27-year-old Moroccan woman in Pilar. A spate of home burglaries on the Orihuela Costa last August led to the Guardia investigation, and they uncovered a series of similar crimes across the region. The gang even went as far north as Alfaz del Pi, as they targetted homes owned by senior citizens, and in one case, they violently assaulted a resident who needed hospital treatment. So far 21 charges have been laid down against the group, including a dozen robbery charges plus two cases of car theft and fraudulently using a bank card. Two of the gang, including the leader, were refused bail after a court appearance, with the Guardia Civil managing to recover the two stolen vehicles and to return them to their owners.