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A group of Serbo-Croatian burglars operating in Europe dismantled


Between July 2021 and October 2022, a Serbo-Croatian criminal group scoured France, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Austria, committing hundreds of burglaries for a loss of ” few millions “ euros.

This group, made up of around sixty people, was dismantled in November 2022 during an operation led by a Franco-Spanish investigation team, with twenty-five arrests, the French gendarmerie announced on Saturday 4 FEBRUARY.

The group was extremely well structured, with a “clan, very integrated family functioning”ranging from teams of burglars to receivers, passing through the laundering of the money thus collected, described to Agence France-Presse General Marc de Tarlé, head of the Central Office for the Fight against Itinerant Delinquency (OCLDI ).

It was organized around a family leading teams of burglars made up in particular of children of the family and other siblings with strong pressure and firm obligations of results, detailed the gendarmerie in a press release.

French investigators began working during “summer 2021” on “about twenty facts and a few individuals”, details General de Tarlé. Then a “significant monitoring work and numerous exchanges with Spain, Croatia in particular” identified a Serbo-Croatian group. In September 2021, the specialized interregional jurisdiction (JIRS) of Bordeaux opened a judicial investigation.

Faced with the international scale of the phenomenon, on September 19, 2022, a joint Franco-Spanish investigation team was created, under the aegis of the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust) and with the support of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), to ensure better coordination on the day of arrests which take place simultaneously in several countries.

Mobile burglary teams

On November 22, 2022, twenty-five people, aged 20 to 40, were arrested in France, Spain, the Netherlands, Croatia and Italy. Among them, seventeen individuals appear in the French file and eight in the Spanish. During the searches, 550,000 euros in counterfeit notes, vehicles, weapons, jewelry and luxury items were seized. Of the twenty-five accused, “twenty-three have been indicted by French or Spanish magistrates and imprisoned, and two are under house arrest in Italy and the Netherlands pending their surrender to the French authorities”added the gendarmerie.

The teams responsible for the burglaries were based in Spain, France, the Netherlands and Italy. They carried out raids of three weeks to a month in a country and returned to their base, explained General de Tarlé. The criminals used in the chosen country vehicles recovered during their operations: thus in France, the vehicles were registered in France. “Well dressed, they didn’t stand out. They melted into the population.details the general.

They operated by day, in rural areas, with women in their teams and by night in the wealthy neighborhoods of cities with seasoned male teams. Their goal, to steal jewelry and cash.

The total damages for the only facts included in the French, Spanish and Swiss proceedings “exceeds 2 million euros”. The proceeds of the thefts were laundered in various European countries through the acquisition of luxury goods and real estate. The jewels were resold to concealment networks among their acquaintances.

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The World with AFP