A criminal group dedicated to steal in shelters on the Camino de Santiago falls

The operation, jointly developed between the Foral Police and the Civil Guard, has clarified 108 criminal acts

66 mobile terminals that had been stolen in shelters of the Camino de Santiago located in the provinces of Navarra, La Rioja, Burgos, León, Cantabria, Palencia, Pontevedra, Asturias, Lugo and La Coruña have been recovered

Five people have been arrested and seven others are investigated. The leader of the group is already in prison, for being a repeat offender

The Civil Guard and the Foral Police have dismantled a criminal group dedicated to theft and robbery in pilgrims' shelters, located mainly in the Foral Community of Navarra.

The operation called Gastejo, began when both bodies were aware of the commission of numerous robberies and thefts committed during the last four months in different shelters of the localities that crosses the Camino de Santiago in Navarra.

108 crimes clarified

Thanks to citizen collaboration and information obtained by the agents, the Foral Police and the Civil Guard have been able to clarify 108 criminal acts. 12 people have been located and identified as members of this group, five of them being arrested and seven others charged as investigated, all of them domiciled in Bilbao.

On the other hand, the researchers have recovered 66 mobile terminals that the group sold in a second-hand products establishment located in Bilbao.

Modus operandi

The analysis carried out on the complaints filed both in the Foral Police and the Civil Guard, together with the efforts made with the different shelters, allowed the identification of two modus operandi developed by the authors.

The first, and the most common, consisted of the simulation by the authors of the facts of their status as pilgrims. The detainees even came to stay in the establishments. Once inside, they facilitated access to other components of the group at night, and in a minimum time, stealing all possible effects and money.

The second modus operandi detected during the investigation was to take advantage of the busiest hours of people in the shelter to steal everything that was of value such as money, jewelry, equipment and mobile terminals.

Investigators detected more places, inside and outside Navarra, where this criminal group acted. In addition to the shelters of the Camino de Santiago, the authors acted in other places such as hospitals, health centers, works – workers' lockers -, usually using the "carelessness" method.

The Judicial Police Team of the Civil Guard of Estella verified how the leader of the network used the rest of the group, those who paid with money or drugs to participate in robberies and thefts.

The detainees are available to the Court of First Instance and Instruction number 1 of Estella, which has issued a restraining order for the ringleader, of all the hostels on the Camino de Santiago. Earlier this month, after a second detention, the group leader enters prison.

Safety recommendations for pilgrims: “Guardian Benemérito”

  • Keep belongings in sight at all times. Use lockers when you can't keep an eye on them.
  • Personal documents and valuables should always be kept in a safe place and out of sight.
  • For any incident that may arise during your pilgrimage, contact the emergency telephone number 112 or the Civil Guard 062, or through the free ALERTCOPS app, especially through the “Benemeritor Guardian” functionality that allows you to geolocate the pilgrim who activates it voluntarily, allowing you to share your last 10 positions – sent and registered automatically by the App – in a specific operational center for coordination and monitoring of the Civil Guard, active in 24-hour / 7-day mode. In addition, an informative message is sent to those pilgrims who use Alercotcops, with the Civil Guard telephone contact (062) accompanied by a message with safety advice. Instructions for use of this application in the link www.guardiacivil.es/es/servicios/consejos and in the link https://alertcops.ses.mir.es/miarertcops/


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