Home News Vehicle Headlight Theft Gang Dismantled

Vehicle Headlight Theft Gang Dismantled

by Mark Nolan
4 minutes read

The Guardia Civil arrested 6 people belonging to a criminal organisation dedicated to the theft and distribution of headlights and vehicle lighting replacement parts.

The Operation

In the operation, vehicle lighting material worth more than 300,000 euro was recovered. In addition, mobile phone terminals and various computer equipment have been seized.

The operation began at the end of 2022, when those responsible for a multinational company dedicated to the manufacture and distribution of headlights and lighting equipment in the automotive sector located in the town of Martos (Jaén), reported to the Guardia Civil that they were the victim of merchandise thefts.

Continuing with the investigations, the agents were able to confirm that an employee of the factory who carried out handling and transportation tasks inside the facilities, took advantage of the transfers to make unnecessary stops on his journeys, in which, apparently, he stole part of the cargo it carried.

For this reason, a surveillance and monitoring device was established, managing, resulting in the identification of two employees who were caught red-handed when they were transferring four pallets of headlights to a truck rented by them, and so they were arrested on the spot.

Modus Operandi

As a result of these arrests, the investigators were able to determine the way the criminal plot operated, identifying others involved in the organisation responsible for the administration of a spare parts company in the automotive lighting sector located in the province of Barcelona.

Likewise, the agents located the person in charge who acquired the product for the Barcelona company, who maintained direct and fluid contact with the head of the organisation who was the employee of the Martos factory. To acquire the material that interested him, which was normally daily, he would let him know the type of headlights, brands, and models that he wanted.

Next, the members of the organisation planned the loading of the trucks, taking into account the most opportune work shifts to proceed with the theft of the merchandise, usually choosing shifts with fewer workers.

Once the merchandise was stolen, it was usually stored in a warehouse or isolated plot, owned by one of the members of the organisation, until the loading capacity of a heavy vehicle was completed, in order to transport it to its final destination.

When the criminal group had accumulated enough material, the person in charge of the Barcelona company travelled to the town of Martos, with a rental truck or van-type vehicle, to transport the stolen merchandise to its offices in Barcelona.

To make payments for orders, it has been verified that the money was sent from Barcelona to Martos, hidden inside a defective headlight or casing, transferring up to €10,000, in €50 bills. In this way, they pretended to return the order because it was defective.

Since a company was in charge of transporting and distributing the stolen effects, they were given the appearance of legitimacy, even going so far as to falsify commercial documents (certificates) of a Martos company related to the injured multinational.

The Operation Conclusion

The detainees would have obtained great benefits from the theft, transportation, and distribution of merchandise.

For this reason, at the end of February of this year, Guardia Civil agents travelled to the province of Barcelona, ​​where they proceeded to carry out several entries and searches in the company located in that province.

The detainees are charged with the alleged crimes of Continued Theft, Membership in a Criminal Organisation and Document Falsification.

The operation has been carried out by the Jaén Guardia Civil Command.

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