5 Feb, 2024 @ 16:27
1 min read

Gone in 60 seconds: Spain’s National Police bust Bulgarian gang that could steal cars in less than a minute

IT may sound like the plot of a Nicolas Cage movie, but Spain’s National Police have managed to bust a real-life gang of Bulgarian origin that could steal luxury vehicles in less than a minute. The network was carrying out the thefts in their home country before importing the cars into Spain and selling them off as legitimate. 

The authorities have nabbed a total of seven people alleged to form part of the gang. After they made off with the cars, they would then falsify their documents with the aim of selling them off in the Spanish market. 

As part of the operation, 10 vehicles were recovered in Madrid and Catalonia with a value of around €350,000. 

The thieves would make between €30,000 and €40,000 for every sale they made. 

The investigation began when the Spanish cops were informed by the Bulgarian Embassy that vehicles were being stolen in Bulgaria, only to turn up in Spain with their documents doctored.

The authorities were put on the trail of the gang, which was found to be highly specialised in this kind of vehicle theft. They were using sophisticated technological tools that would gain them access to medium- and high-level cars in less than a minute. 

Such was the gang’s skill at disguising the origin of the vehicles, they were imported with no issues and in some cases were even snapped up by major dealerships for resale. 

Investigations are ongoing by the Spanish and Bulgarian authorities in a bid to locate more suspect vehicles. 

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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