Service station robbers nicked

A gang of violent thieves that robbed at least 20 petrol stations across the Vega Baja region are behind bars after a joint operation between the Guardia Civil and the National Police. Officers collared four suspects in raids on Wednesday in Bigastro, and in the Murcia region in La Unión and Cieza. At least one of those arrested is understood to be non-Spanish, perhaps Romanian, with authorities believing that the men were also responsible for around 20 home burglaries. Wednesday’s dragnet including the cordoning off of an apartment block on Calle San Pascual(pictured) for a 7.00am raid which involved the arrest of the non-Spaniard there.

The masked gang is said to have carried a gun and a samurai-style sword in their raids to intimidate victims to hand over money and goods as they raided premises across the area with stations at Catral, San Fulgencio, Crevilliente and Los Montesinos being targeted, some of them on more than one occasion. They also struck at homes including one at La Murada before being chased by Orihuela police and the Guardia for a number of miles before abandoning their car and managing to escape. They then robbed a Catral service station before hitting other properties including a tobacco shop, using a stolen van to transport their booty. It’s understood that abandoned van at the turn of the year provided authorities with key clues to tracking down the robbers.

The joint operation was staged by the Guardia Civil and the National Police Special Violent Crime Unit(UDEV) based out of Elche. Both organisations have been carrying extensive surveillance operations since the start of the year.