NEARLY 100 graffiti vandals who caused €22 MILLION worth of damage to trains in just three years have been arrested in Spain.
The 99 detained men and women are said to be responsible for thousands of incidents that disfigured RENFE and Metro trains, with the gang being based in Barcelona.
Operation Awakening was launched by National Police and the Mossos d’Esquadra Catalan force in September 2019.
Police who had been keeping previous graffiti attacks learned that the vandals considered it easy to daub tarins in Catalunya with little chance of ever being caught.
The investigation focuses on the 6,741 complaints filed by train operator RENFE and Metro Barcelona during 2017, 2018 and 2019
The operation was carried out in two phases, the first aimed at finding the 51 alleged perpetrators who lived outside Catalunya. Arrestes were made in in Madrid, Castilla y Leon, Castilla La-Mancha, Oviedo, the Basque Country, Aragon, Valencia and Andalucia.
In the second phase, developed jointly with the Mossos d’Esquadra, 48 people were arrested in Barcelona, Tarragona and Girona.
Among those detained was a graffiti artist who worked as a ticket agent through a company subcontracted by RENFE, and a young man who travelled all the way from Milan in Italy with the sole purpose of carrying out graffiti attacks. He was arrested as he disembarked a plane after landing at Barcelona-El Prat Airport.
Police say that 48% of all graffiti attacks on Spanish trains and metros involved vandals coming from Catalunya.