Officers from the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, have arrested four alleged members of a group who would pose as police officers on the AP-7 motorway between the French border and the Valencia region, in order to stop and then rob vehicles, mostly targeting tourists, in service areas and lay-bys.
The report states how the arrests were made last week and those arrested are charged with two crimes of robbery with violence, two with force, one of causing injuries, three of usurpation of public functions and three counts of crimes against road safety.
The officers had investigated reports since August of this year, but are keeping the file open for other reported incidents for which this group may be responsible.
The group would cover up to 700 kilometres per night during their raids, moving along the motorway network until they could identify their victims.
The thieves, of Bosnian origin, falsely identified themselves as police to gain the trust of the victims, but if they did not follow the orders or resist, they resorted to force and violently attacked them.
The victims of the group were mostly foreign tourists who could be in possession of large amounts of cash when on vacation. During the investigation, the officers found evidence that the group were involved in seven events that occurred between August 18 and October 12, and also discovered that they were using a warehouse in an industrial area of the metropolitan area of Barcelona as a temporary residence and to hide their booty.
After a surveillance and monitoring operation, the officers detained the four members of the group in Barcelona. During the raid of the warehouse the officers located more than 3,000 euro in cash in different currencies and denominations.
The officers later thanked the diligence of the motorway operator, Abertis Autopistas , which has collaborated in the investigation through their video surveillance systems.
The detainees, who have different backgrounds, were brought before the courts in Girona.
Remember, if you have any doubt as to whether a vehicle trying to stop you on the motorway is genuine, you can call the emergency coordination centre on 112, reporting the vehicle’s registration number, and they can confirm if it is real and, if not, summon help. There is also a video on the N332.es website which explains how to identify unmarked police vehicles in the hope of reducing this kind of crime where unscrupulous criminals prey on innocent victims.