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Eight arrested as police seize refrigerant worth €500,000

SPAIN: Eight people have now been arrested, and refrigerant valued at €500,000 recovered, after raids by police across Catalonia last week. 

A series of raids by Catalan police and the Guardia Civil in Sabadell, Terrassa. Badalona and La Pobla de Mafumet on August 14 recovered a total of 255 cylinders of refrigerant. 

The joint investigation began after thieves forced entry to a business in Tarragona in February. Similar robberies were subsequently reported in several companies across Catalonia, specifically in Tarragona, Reus, Cornellà de Llobregat, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Aiguaviva and Fornells de la Selva (Gironès). In all, the group is said to have committed up to 12 robberies.

The thieves are said to have specifically targeted refrigeration companies that they knew would contain gas. Using different methods to force entry, the thieves focused on the refrigerant, ignoring other items of value.

The Spanish police allege that the criminals carried out reconnaissance of industrial estates to search for companies dedicated to refrigeration services. Once the companies were detected, other more active members were charged with carrying out the robberies. One member of the gang was charged with obtaining the vehicles and another responsible for storing the cylinders, most of which were found in a farmhouse in La Pobla de Mafumet, Tarragonès.

Five of the gang have been temporarily transferred to prison, one released on bail, and the other two detainees have given statements to police investigators.

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