POLICE said it had put a stop to the criminal activities of a gang of thieves using a flat tyre as a ploy to rob victims in Mallorca capital Palma.
An investigation into the group has led to the arrest of the suspected leader, accused by police of 26 crimes, and another gang member.
Another two individuals are under investigation.
According to reports the thieves’ focused particularly on commercial centres. Their strategy was to identify a potential victim, then let down or puncture a tyre on their vehicle while they were shopping.
When the victim retuned and realised they had a flat, the gang members would offer to help. The robbers took advantage of the victim being distracted to steal belongings left in the unlocked cars.
Sometimes the gang didn’t have to go to such lengths, police said.
They just seized the opportunity when they noticed someone had not locked their vehicle properly before going off or made the most of people at service stations being busy concentrating on filling up.
Police have linked the gang to a man they arrested last year. He had been living in Palma and was charged with half a dozen similar crimes committed along with a second individual. However he managed to flee Mallorca without being identified.
Police believe he had been living in Barcelona, but returned to Mallorca to set up another criminal group.
Police said the investigation remains open.