The Judiciary Police (PJ) today announced the arrest of three South Americans named as the “cell” of an international criminal organization responsible for “millionaire thefts” in homes, namely those on 18th January in Porto and Gondomar.

In a statement, the Northern Board of the PJ said that three men from South American countries aged between 24 and 37 years, had been charged with crimes of criminal association and qualified theft in residence. They had been identified and arrested whilst caught in the act.

“The ‘modus operandi’ used was to break-into houses located in areas with people of high socioeconomic status, at the beginning of the night, taking advantage of the fact that residents have not yet returned home after work. “ He added that “one of the robberies was consummated and the other only attempted, since the suspects were surprised by the residents, who were already at home.”

Following the police intervention, the suspects were apprehended, in possession of large amounts of money, precious metal objects, false identification documents and tools “used in the crimes, and the PJ proceeded to” suspend the posting of postal parcels abroad “.

According to the Judiciary, the crimes attributed to this international group “have provoked a great social alarm, since they are committed with great effectiveness and professionalism, targeting commercial establishments and homes,  from which high value goods have been subtracted that are suspected to have been disposed of outside of the country “.

“The suspects,” he said, “will be part of a broader international criminal group that will be dedicated to the commission of other crimes of this nature in various areas of the country.”