POLICE have revealed how an Eastern European organisation comprised of ex-soldiers robbed at least 70 homes in wealthy neighbourhoods on the Costa del Sol.
Speaking at a press conference, the chief inspector of the local brigade of the Judicial Police of Marbella, Javier Santos, announced that six people of Eastern European origin, including their Albanian leader, had been arrested after allegedly committing dozens of robberies.
The gang, who had “military training”, operated with “extreme measures” in order to rob 71 wealthy properties, mainly in luxury residential areas of Marbella, say police.
According to local authorities, including the region’s provincial commissioner, the commissioner of Marbella and the chief inspector of the robbery group of the Judicial Police of Malaga, the group conducted exhaustive research on each target before launching their attacks.
The gang preferred to operate on houses adjacent to golf courses, providing an extra layer of security against police and CCTV cameras.
The group would then use “extreme security measures” to ensure they weren’t being followed, before launching their robberies between 7pm and 10pm, when their victims were out having dinner.
However, in four of the robberies violence and intimidation were used after homeowners discovered the gang attempting to break in.
The investigation against the group began in March 2023 with ‘Operation Western’, before culminating on December 18 after police discovered a hideout in Artola, Marbella.
Police discovered 169 pieces of jewellery, watches, bags and other branded items, alongside a pistol, shotgun, brass knuckles, communication equipment, balaclavas, machetes and a crowbar.
The findings led police to arrest six individuals, including the Albanian leader who was charged with robbery by force, membership of a criminal organisation and money laundering.
The group mainly operated in Marbella, but also targeted properties in Estepona, Malaga and Torremolinos.