The Guardia Civil in Valencia dismantles a criminal network dedicated to copper theft throughout the country

The Guardia Civil, in collaboration with the Madrid Municipal Police, has dismantled a network dedicated to copper theft throughout the national territory.

10 people, aged between 18 and 40, have been arrested for the alleged crimes of robbery with force, belonging to a criminal organisation, and robbery with violence and intimidation, committed in the provinces of Badajoz, Cáceres, Castellón, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Salamanca, Segovia, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid and Zamora.

The dismantled group had managed to steal more than 28,800 kilos of copper cable, which, together with the damage caused to the facilities they accessed by force, the value exceeds half a million euro.

Operation ZAUN began at the beginning of June 2021, after the Guardia Civil learned of the theft of several metres of copper cable from an electrical substation in the town of Utiel (Valencia). In this robbery, they did not hesitate to attack the security guard who guarded the facility to achieve their goals. In addition, another robbery of the same characteristics also occurred at a photovoltaic plant in the municipality of Caudete de las Fuentes (Valencia).

Throughout the investigation, the agents discovered that those now detained had not limited themselves to committing the crimes only in Valencia, but also in different towns in the provinces of Badajoz, Cáceres, Castellón, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Salamanca, Segovia, Toledo, Valladolid and Zamora.

The members of the network, who mainly dedicated their activity to the theft of copper cable, chose photovoltaic plants, agricultural cooperatives, sewage treatment plants, factories and industrial buildings as their main targets. They were transferred to various facilities such as cement or quarries, in order to study a specific place to hide the stolen material and, later, proceed to burn the cable to get rid of the plastic coating. Once this work was done, they sold it illegally.

The perpetrators, once inside the premises where they were going to commit the robbery and to remove a large amount of cable quickly, hooked the end of the copper cable they wanted to obtain to a vehicle and set it in motion. The vehicles used for this purpose were from the facility itself or, on some occasions, had been stolen before the theft.

In the searches carried out, different tools used for access to the facilities where the crimes were committed have been intervened.

The proceedings have been delivered to the Court of First Instance and Instruction number 3 of Requena.

The operation has been carried out by agents belonging to the Guardia Civil in Utiel and the ROCA Team of the Guardia Civil of Requena; They have had the collaboration of agents from the Fuencarral District Unit of the Madrid Municipal Police, the district where the largest number of members of this criminal group resided.