By David Amoruso for Gangsters Inc.
Move over Vin Diesel and The Rock! A gang of thieves showed it had the balls and driving skills to steal over 150 cargo loads – sometimes while in pursuit of the truck - making off with an estimated total of €10 million in loot. This week, Europol announced it had busted the huge crew of Fast & Furious-style hijackers.
It was an unprecedented law enforcement operation involving five countries aimed at taking down one of the most active networks of cargo thieves operating across Europe. The coordinated actions took place under the umbrella of a joint investigation, code-named “ARROW,” coordinated by Europol at the international level. As their target was a highly-skilled organized crime group composed of over 100 members, everything needed to be planned meticulously.
Arrests across Europe
The latest phase of Operation ARROW has resulted in the arrest Monday in Romania of 37 members of this highly professional criminal syndicate. 73 house searches were carried out in the early hours of the morning across the country by the Romanian National Police (Poliția Română) and the French National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale) with the support of Europol on-the-ground.
These arrests this week in Romania follow those in other European countries of other members of the same criminal group. Ten suspects were arrested in France earlier this year by the French National Gendarmerie as part of a parallel action. A further ten suspects were arrested in Spain, six in the Netherlands and five in Sweden. European arrests warrants have been issued for the remaining members at large.
Fast & Furious-style heists
The arrested individuals, who are originally from Romania, are suspected of carrying out thefts from moving lorries, even as the drivers continued to drive – oblivious to the crimes – at high speed on motorways.
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Executing such thefts requires a high degree of sophistication. One car would start to drive slowly in front of the lorry while two other cars held up the other traffic. A fourth car would drive up close behind the lorry. One of the criminals would climb out of the car’s sunroof onto the bonnet and break open the lock on the lorry with an angle grinder. The valuable cargo would then either be transferred to their vehicle, or thrown on the side of the road to be picked up later. The driver of the lorry and other road-users were often completely unaware of what was going on.
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