Two police officers from the local police in Roux in Charleroi have been placed under arrest in connection with a massive organised crime operation of car thieves broken up earlier this week. The strike against the gang took place on Monday, with 1,200 police across the three regions carrying out search warrants on caravan parks and homes. More than 50 people were detained, and 91 cars, 90 caravans and 34 properties including houses and apartments were seized as evidence, as well as cash and valuables.
The gangs accused of approaching people selling expensive cars online and offering the asking price; they then make a fake transfer of the money via a banking app, and drive off with the vehicle. But no money has ever changed hands.
The two police officers are suspected of helping the gang, which is mainly made up of members of the Roma travelling community. One of the two has already been charged with corruption and breach of professional confidence; the other has still to be interviewed, a spokesperson for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, which is coordinating the operation.
Meanwhile the spokesperson for the Roma community has also been arrested. He took part in a protest on Wednesday outside the Justice Palace in Brussels against the seizure of caravans, which has left some people homeless. His arrest, however, is linked to separate charges relating to the main investigation, the prosecutor’s office said.