The Spanish Civil Guard announced on Monday that it has broken up an Albanian gang that specialised in burgling the homes of high-profile professional footballers while they were playing matches.
The group, which consisted of four Albanian nationals and one Spaniard, were detained as a result of a series of coordinated raids in Madrid and the nearby city of Toledo on 16 October, according to Europol, which helped to coordinate the investigations of the Spanish and Albanian authorities.
The gang notably robbed “several players of the professional football league, including players from Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, even while members of their family were in the house,” the Civil Guard said in a statement.
A large amount of stolen jewellery and 10,000 euros in cash were recovered during raids, as was a La Liga runners-up medal stolen from the home of the Atletico Madrid player Thomas Partey, which was broken into twice within the first week of October. The home of Real Madrid player Carlos Henrique Casemiro was also burgled while his team played against Atlético Madrid, on September 28.
Last June, the Madrid home of Chelsea player Álvaro Morata was targeted by armed burglars while he was on international duty with Spain in the Faroe Islands. A group of burglars entered Morata’s home in Mirasierra, on the outskirts of the capital while his wife and two sons were inside. Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane, one of the team’s players, Francisco “Isco” Alarcon, both had their houses broken into in the same day in June.
Following these robberies, Real Madrid hired private security to guard the homes of its players living in the north of the city.
In total, the gang are suspected of committing more than twenty robberies in Madrid, Asturias and Castilla y León. One of those arrested was reportedly involved in the violent robbery of well-known Spanish TV producer José Luis Moreno in 2007.
The detainees have been charged with home burglary, belonging to a criminal group, receiving stolen material, theft of vehicles and the falsification of documents.