It was reported that on 4th March that agents of the Spanish National Police and the Civil Guard have carried out Operation “MISSOURI” in which a criminal organization has been dismantled conducting thefts at ATMs Banks by means of the gas explosion. The members of this group used disguises to avoid being identified and explosive and flammable material to access the money that was inside the ATMs. Six people, mostly South American, have been arrested in the operation.

Police found in three houses and a rented storage room, numerous false documents (passports, driving licenses and identity cards from different countries) acetylene cylinders, cable clamps, hoses, car batteries and metal rods, costumes and masks used in thefts, specialized tools, computers, telephones and cash. They used acetylene gas to blow up and steal ATMs.

The operation began after contacts between the two police forces which verified the existence of a criminal group that could be responsible for several robberies with force committed in ATMs of different Andalusian localities, in which they used explosives to access the money

Continuing with the investigations, agents of the Scientific Police identified a DNA profile, which placed the main suspect of a robbery committed at a bank in Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz). During the incident four individuals (two of them armed with shotguns and another with a large knife), entered the bank and tied up an employee and stole cash from the safes.

The individuals also committed eight robberies with force at ATMs in different bank branches located in several localities of some Andalusian provinces.

The information was revealed after the arrest of three robbers in Portugal. The leader of the organization under investigation recomposed the group, bringing from Chile two people who are specialists in the theft of ATMs by means of the explosion with flammable gases.

Likewise, the agents found that the organization used rental vehicles obtained with falsified documents which were sometimes replaced by stolen license plates to commit various ATM robberies

Each of these robberies was carried out using explosive and flammable material, namely acetylene gas which were injected by rubber tubes into the tellers, and using rods connected to a car battery, as a detonator of the compartment. Once the ATM exploded, the criminals used axes, shears, chisels or screwdrivers to access even the money.

It is believed that the group were planning similar crimes in Bonares, Huelva, (about 60 kms from Portugal) where they had an infrastructure in place.