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Spain smashes burglary gang that hit footballers’ homes

Spanish police on Wednesday said that they had busted a burglary gang that targeted luxury properties in Madrid, including the homes of at least two top-tier La Liga players. 

Six suspects were arrested in connection with “eight house burglaries since July 2022”, a police statement said. 

Police sources said that among the houses targeted were those of Real Madrid’s Brazil winger Rodrygo and Colombia striker Radamel Falcao, who plays for rival Madrid team Rayo Vallecano.

They refused to say whether any more footballers were affected. 

To scope out their targets, the burglars “would check social media, studying the photographs and videos that the footballers and their friends and family would post from inside their homes,” the statement said. 

That enabled them to earmark valuable objects and where they were, but social media posts also tipped them off as to “when the owners were not at home”. 

They would visit the properties to look at the outside to study the types of security systems being used and to scope out the best way to get in. 

The suspects were arrested on eight charges of robbery with force, one of robbery with violence or intimidation, falsifying documents and money laundering among others, with a judge ordering three of them to be remanded in custody. 

The incident that tipped off police to their activity took place in May 2023 in the northern suburb of Alcobendas with a theft mainly involving luxury watches and jewellery that was worth some 500,000 euros ($550,000). 

During the arrest operation, police seized 10 luxury watches, jewels and more than 3,300 euros in cash, along with two air pistols. 

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