Seven people posing as police officers in Spain have been arrested for allegedly robbing dozens of foreign tourists after flashing phony badges and ripping off unsuspecting drivers outside of Spain’s largest airport.
The seven arrested, dubbed the ‘Alivare King Europe mafia,’ are accused of creating fake road-blocks to stop foreign registered vehicles outside Madrid’s Barajas airport.
They also targeted vulnerable looking tourists outside Real Madrid football team’s stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu.
They are said to have approached automobiles and after brandishing fake ID cards bearing the logo ‘Police Madrid’ threatened to arrest victims unless they handed over valuables.
Video released shows them getting out of a car to stop a driver. After patting him down, they enter his cab and make off with several items.
Police said the crew donned plastic walkie-talkies to give “an air of credibility” and in at least one case “subtly showed a gun, as a threat.”
They are said to have made off with “plenty of jewels, luxury watches, expensive sunglasses and money in different currencies.”
It is also alleged that those arrested uploaded menacing videos onto YouTube where they warned rival gangs not to encroach on their turf.
The clips, which have now been taken down from the site, are believed to have included members posing in police jackets under the slogan Persopolicei (Police Persian), referring to their country of origin.
They “invited” compatriots “not to interfere in their business” and never to pose as a policeman without their express permission. They could, however, rob banks and shops with impunity.
Madrid Police told the ABC newspaper that everyone detained already possessed criminal records for “similar occurrences.”
It was, a source told the publication, a criminal organization with family ties. It was “highly organized and hierarchical.”
The arrests were made at the end of October in two homes in the Madrid suburb of Parla, but have only come to light recently. Those arrested have been charged with allegedly robbing at least 26 people.