An international gang that broke ATMs falls and was intercepted in San Claudio (Oviedo)

An international gang that broke ATMs falls and was intercepted in San Claudio (Oviedo)

The Civil Guard has been an essential part of an operation called “Berthelot” and developed in Spain, Romania and Belgium against the “most active” organization in Europe dedicated to the theft of ATMs using explosive devices. There are seven detainees for 22 attacks since 2019 in different European countries, including seven in small towns in northwestern Spain via a logistics base set up in Ribadeo (Lugo). And one of these violent robberies, after which members of the gang were intercepted, occurred in San Claudio (Oviedo).

Damage caused by one of the attacks on ATMs with explosives.


In Spain, the investigation began in 2020 after a bombing attack on a branch of the Leonese municipality of Toral de los Vados, whose “modus operandi” had patterns identical to similar events in other countries. Europeans, such as the use of a stolen vehicle. to carry out the attack on the entity and then abandon it by spraying its entire interior with a fire extinguisher.

According to the Civil Guard, due to the amount of explosives used, the perpetrators caused “serious structural damage” in the buildings where the burglarized ATMs were located. Given the seriousness of the crimes and after verifying the possible paternity of the now dismantled group, as well as its transnational scope, the Civil Guard created a joint work team made up of agents from the Central Operational Unit ( UCO) and the Judicial Police Organic Unit of the León Command. Among those arrested is one of the leaders of this criminal group, of Romanian origin, who had extensive experience in handling explosive substances. The group used black powder which they brought to Spain.

The Civil Guard attributes to the group seven attacks on banking entities in Spain and 15 others in Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, with an amount exceeding one and a half million euros stolen. In October, the Civil Guard already arrested two people in Ribadeo and three others in Oviedo. The agents detected that they had set their next target in San Claudio (Oviedo), where they were arrested after stealing a vehicle from a dealership, then moved to the target selected for, after attacking an ATM, flee the scene with a loot of 48,000 euros. They were the most dangerous cell and this successful operation in Asturias led to other arrests in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid), as well as in Belgium and Romania. They planned their actions exhaustively by carrying out a rigorous selection of possible targets, opting for ATMs located in places with little surveillance and with quick access to major communication routes to facilitate their escape.

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