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Four citizens of Romanian nationality, suspected of being linked to an organised crime network that is dedicated to robberies in establishments in several tourist cities in Europe, were detained yesterday morning in Funchal by the Public Security Police, when they did the exchange of money of proven origin.

The video recorded by the Diario Noticias report at around 10:30am on Monday shows the time of the arrest of the suspects who were handcuffed and driven in a police car to the Funchal police station in order to be identified and constituted defendants for theft crimes made in the main touristic circuits of Funchal and Câmara de Lobos, but also in perfume and clothes shops in the Madeiran capital.

The quartet – three men and a woman – were intercepted at an exchange office on Rua San Francisco by PSP that set up a large-scale operation that mobilised a Rapid Intervention Team and two patrol cars. During the police intervention, the street was closed to traffic.

As the DN reports in today’s print edition, the thief’s target is essentially tourists and based on group work: while one distracted the victims, one pushed or pulled the other (usually a young woman) she took his wallet out of his trouser or jacket pocket. Normally, this type of scheme was put into practice on board buses and in queues in various tourist circuits of Madeira, with complaints registered mainly in Funchal and Câmara de Lobos.

In addition to these four individuals, four other men – two men and two women – also of Romanian nationality, made a foray into Madeira but eventually escaped when they realised that the PSP would be in pursuit. The quartet caught a last-minute flight to Lisbon in the end and were detained in the Portuguese capital.