Spain’s Rash of Violent Gambling Hall Robberies May Be Nearing an End

Posted on: March 8, 2023, 07:10h. 

Last updated on: March 8, 2023, 12:38h.

A wave of robberies that Murcia, Spain, has been suffering for months entered a new chapter on Tuesday. Thieves hit three gambling halls in different parts of the region, but it wasn’t long before the police were able to throw a net over the gang.

A police officer on patrol in Murcia, Spain
A police officer on patrol in Murcia, Spain. A gang of criminals that has terrorized the region is being dismantled by police. (Image: La Opinion de Murcia)

These attacks appeared to be part of a string of robberies that have confounded authorities for months. However, the thieves also left clues that made it easier for the police to intervene and break up at least part of a gang said to be responsible.

The gang deployed a modus operandi similar to that of a group that disappeared years ago after dealing numerous blows to the region. The robbers in the recent attacks on the gaming halls traveled in a vehicle identical to the one the earlier gang used. It’s a vehicle that’s hard to forget; they were driving a Porsche.

Rapid-Fire Hits

The thieves started early Tuesday morning when they struck a gambling venue in the city of San Javier, according to sources. They were in and out quickly, and authorities haven’t detailed what they stole. They only explained that several employees were beaten after three crooks entered the premises. A fourth waited outside to enable a quick getaway.

The robbers then moved on to their second target, but didn’t have much success. Security cameras recorded them breaking through the front door. Once inside, they smashed a slot machine and tried to open a safe using hydraulic cutters, similar to those used by firefighters to rescue traffic accident victims trapped in their vehicles.

The armored box refused to open, so the group, made up of at least four hooded men, fled in less than five minutes. Minutes later, police officers were on the scene, responding to the property’s wailing alarm.

The gang continued their criminal activity and went to another game room, once again swiftly robbing the property before making a fast getaway. After this blow, and as proof of the true nature of its mentality, the group returned to the first property it hit.

There, according to reports, they encountered the same employees they had attacked previously. They apparently didn’t attempt another heist and escaped before police could arrive.

Coming to an End

Police are trying to dismantle a large criminal gang that has been operating in various parts of Spain. They suspect the assailants in the gambling hall attacks are likely part of the same group. Now, after several months of constant assaults in different parts of Murcia, it seems that the end of the gang’s run may be near.

In addition to gambling halls, the group has hit gas stations and other commercial businesses. Following the robberies at the gaming properties on Tuesday, Spain’s Civil Guard took over several municipalities in the region to throw down a net. The operation resulted in 15 raids and at least 11 arrests, according to law enforcement sources.

The raids began before dawn, only hours after the third gaming hall attack. The operation, led by the Judicial Police, included nearly a hundred officers, with the Civil Guard having to recruit support from other areas of Spain, such as Andalusia, Valencia, and Zaragoza.

The raids were the result of an investigation that began approximately three months ago, when complaints about assaults on establishments in the area started to rise. Authorities seized electronic devices and other equipment they said they could link to the crimes. But they’re not done.

The operation, which is under summary secrecy, remains open, according to a government representative.