Officers from the Guardia Civil have arrested nine youths on the Orihuela Costa (Alicante), on suspicion of being a group dedicated to stealing bicycles as part of a “game”.
Another four, who are aged between 15 and 19 and of different nationalities, are being investigated and are believed to be responsible for seven robberies and three thefts, which were carried out as part of a dare to see who could steal the most.
The alleged members of the gang have already appeared in court and have been released with charges pending.
The officers, based in Pilar de la Horadada, began an investigation due to an increase in domestic thefts in residential areas of the Orihuela Costa, all with similar characteristics.
The officers quickly discovered that a gang of youths were behind the thefts, all from neighboring Torrevieja (Alicante). The modus operandi was always the same: they walked or took a bus to the Orihuela Costa, in small groups of three to six people. Once there, they toured the different developments and selected homes where they were to commit robberies. Then one or two of them jumped the fence of the house and another was watching from the street. They carried cutters with them to allow them to cut chains or locks and once they had enough bikes they would return them to Torrevieja.
The investigation concluded that the young people had committed the crimes as a “game” in which they would challenge each other to see who could steal the most, and also included burglaries committed in Halloween night, in which the alleged perpetrators, taking advantage of this festival, donned masks, as a disguise to avoid being recognised by possible security cameras.
Due to the dispersion in small groups of this gang, the Guardia Civil had to divide the operation into five stages and performed all arrests ‘in the act’, when the alleged members were riding on newly stolen bicycles. The officers recovered a total of 17 bikes, and have not ruled out finding more.
The operation culminated with the arrest of nine youths between 15 and 19 years (four Spaniards, two Germans, one Romanian, one Venezuelan and one Moroccan), and investigating another four (two Spaniards, a Brit and a Ukrainian, between 15 and 18 years) being the alleged perpetrators.
After going to court, both the Courts of Orihuela and the Youth Offenders Office in Alicante, have released the gang members on bail with charges.