Europol crack on Albania and Romania organized crime
Four individuals have been arrested as a result of a joint investigation between the Belgian and Romanian Police, supported by Europol, against a mobile organised crime group specialised in house burglaries. Up to now, the criminal gang is suspected of being involved in 40 different house burglaries with a prejudice estimated at more than EUR 100 000.
Three of the arrests were performed in Belgium and one in Romania. The latter arrestee was extradited to Belgium in early February 2017.
Composed of Albanian and Romanian nationals, the criminal network was extremely violent, attacking victims in their own homes when caught in the act.
On 8 March 2017, as part of a joint action day, three house searches were conducted in Focsani (Romania) by the Romanian authorities, with assistance from a Belgian magistrate and two police officers. As a result, jewellery, watches, cosmetics, leather goods and RON 23 000 (equivalent of EUR 5 100) were seized. In addition, five suspects were brought in for questioning as there is strong indication that the criminal gang was also involved in money laundering.
Europol contributed to the investigation from the very beginning by providing analytical support and facilitating the information exchange. An operational meeting was hosted at Europol’s headquarters, bringing together experts from Albania, Belgium, Italy, Romania and Switzerland to discuss concrete operational actions.