A gang of international safe crackers who specialised in plundering guests’ rooms at luxury hotels has been broken up by police after a EUR 4.5 million crime spree.
The gang only targeted expensive hotels in France and Spain where rich guests were likely to have expensive jewellery, the police said.
A police video released on 21st September after a raid on one of three arrested suspects shows a breathtaking haul of expensive watches.
One Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore watch is said to be worth more than 40,000 Euros.
Another is a diamond-encrusted Franck Muller timepiece valued at over 30,000 Euros
A third is a vintage Omega Seamaster worth around 10,000 Euros.
Earlier in the footage, one of the gang is shown searching a hotel suite room by room for valuables.
The Spanish police said they retrieved two loot bags worth EUR 750,000 during raids in Marbella in an operation code-named Ebano Azul, or Blue Ebony.
French police recovered a further EUR 450,000 in stolen gold and silver jewellery in a raid on the gang’s Algerian-born ringleader.
A third suspect was seized in the French port city of Marseille.
The police said the gang would dress up in designer clothes to pass among VIP guests who were watched to see what loot they might have.
The inquiry began in August last year in Cadiz, Spain, after a luxury hotel in Chiclana was targeted by the gang.
In France, a luxury hotel, not named but said to be near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, was also pillaged.
Investigators believe they were responsible for at least seven hotel raids in France and five in Spain.
The Spanish police said the first arrest was key to cracking the case.
They explained: “Thanks to this arrest, the organisation’s leader was identified, who operated under nine different identities throughout European territory.”
Newsflash obtained a statement from the Spanish Guardia Civil on 21st September saying: “Twelve robberies committed in luxury hotel complexes in Spain and France have been solved.
“In our country, five robberies committed in Chiclana de la Frontera (Cadiz) have been solved, one person has been arrested, and stolen goods worth more than EUR 750,000 have been located.
“The organisation’s leader operated under nine different identities throughout Europe.”
The statement added: “The Civil Guard and the French National Police, in collaboration with EUROPOL, have arrested three people dedicated to robbing luxury hotel complexes.
“This group is suspected of having committed at least 12 robberies in Spain and France, taking loot worth EUR 4.5 million.”
They said that it quickly “became clear that the suspects had special skills in opening security safes”, saying that they pillaged hotel rooms for “all valuables and cash inside” before discreetly escaping.