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07 June 2012

Crime network behind hundreds of burglaries dismantled by French police

Operation supported by INTERPOL and Europol


An operation led by French law enforcement, and supported by INTERPOL and Europol, targeting a crime network of Georgian and Armenian nationals believed to be linked to more than 300 burglaries has resulted in the arrest of 21 individuals and the recovery of a substantial amount of gold and jewellery.

The network - structured over several levels, with burglars, team leaders and coordinated by at least one ‘thief-in-law,’ a criminal of high-ranking within the network who acts as a controller and regulator - is suspected of a series of residential and commercial thefts around Limoges, the north of France and Belgium, with the stolen goods sent to Belgium for selling on.

The investigation, led by France’s Central Office for Combating Itinerant Delinquency and the Gendarmerie of Limoges, was supported from the early stages by Europol specialists who facilitated the exchange of criminal intelligence, delivered analytical reports and supported the operation on the spot with a mobile office.

During the operational phase on June 4, INTERPOL provided onsite support assisting the identification of those arrested through on-site fingerprint scanning, provision of access to INTERPOL’s global databases and message exchange with its National Central Bureaus.

The number of arrests and seizures are provisional and likely to increase in the next few days as the operation continues.