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4 Mar, 2023 20:41

Spain busts Ukrainians robbing refugee compatriots

The criminal ring has deprived seven wealthy families of more than €1 million in cash and valuables
Spain busts Ukrainians robbing refugee compatriots

Spanish law enforcement has busted a multinational gang specializing in robbing wealthy Ukrainian refugees, the country’s Guardia Civil police force announced on Friday. The gang, composed primarily of Ukrainian nationals, “had specialized in this type of victim since they usually bring all their savings and valuables,” the authorities said in a statement.

The police arrested ten suspects, seizing cash, valuables, and weapons from them. The criminal ring came onto the radar of law enforcement last summer after the first reports emerged of robberies of the homes of Ukrainian refugees on Spain’s Mediterranean coast in the eastern provinces of Alicante and Murcia.

The group's modus operandi involved careful planning and study of the daily routines of potential victims to make sure nobody was home during the raid. The suspects then used lockpicks and other tools to break into the homes they had scoped out, “without causing damage and leaving hardly any traces,” the police noted. 

The core of the gang was seven Ukrainian nationals, with three Russian nationals, a couple and their adult son providing ‘logistical support’ for the robbers, including by driving the team itself and the items stolen during the robberies. 

All told, the group managed to steal some €1.25 million in cash and assorted valuables, such as jewelry and electronics, from seven Ukrainian families. A collection of postage stamps, estimated to be worth around half a million euros, was the most valuable single item, according to the police. 

“The investigation remains open and new arrests and establishing more victims are not ruled out,” law enforcement officials said. Seven of the suspects have been placed in pre-trial detention with their bank accounts frozen, the police noted, without elaborating on the nationality of the incarcerated.