Over 100 arrested in action against traveling gangs

Stolen baby formula seized in Rotterdam and The Hague during a police action against mobile bandidtry, May 2018
Stolen baby formula seized in Rotterdam and The Hague during a police action against mobile bandidtry, May 2018Photo: Politie

Last week the police arrested over 100 people in a nationwide campaign against so-called 'mobile banditry' - gangs of criminals that travel from place to place to commit crimes. The detainees include shoplifters, baby formula thieves, pickpockets, drug traffickers, identity thieves and even a fake cop, the police said in a statement on Monday night.

The nationwide action was held between Tuesday and Friday last week. Multiple people were arrested at Amsterdam Central Station for pickpocketing, or attempts thereto. 

In The Hague four people were arrested at a home on suspicion of stealing or receiving stolen baby formula. When searching the home and a business in Rotterdam, over 3 thousand packs of baby formula and around 16 thousand euros in cash were found. All four suspects were arraigned and remanded into custody. The day after these arrests, three more people showed up at The Hague home with stolen baby formula for sale. They were also arrested, arraigned, and remanded into custody. 

On the A13 near Delft the police pulled over a car that had a working 'stop sign', like the one on police cars, installed. The person driving the car also had a blue flashing light, a baton, a fake gun, handcuffs and a holster in his car. The police are investigating whether the man pretended to be a cop. On the A1 the police found an extensive set of knives in a car. Four suspects were arrested for violating the Weapons and Ammunition Act.

In Hoofddorp five shoplifters were caught red-handed in stealing clothes, shoes and smartphones. Four are still in custody, the fifth was released but remains a suspect. In Den Bosch a repeat offender was arrested for shoplifting. At the border crossing with Germany in the vicinity of Venlo, a Romanian man was checked and the police found 600 kilograms of Apaan - a raw material used in the manufacture of synthetic drugs.

Near Zwolle the police checked a person that immigration service IND had registered as a foreigner to be deported. Further checks revealed that the person had been deported from the Netherlands in April of this year, after spending some time in detention. According to the police, the person turned out to be a pickpocket active in the Netherlands and Germany. The suspect was handed over to the immigration police.

The police carried out checks on highways, parking lots, the road network, and on the water. Among other things, specialists checked ID documents for authenticity, also checking with Europol. "This resulted in interesting information for ongoing international investigations in several cases", the police said. These include investigations into human trafficking, arms trafficking, drug smuggling an burglaries. 

During the action, the police also recovered thousands of euros in outstanding fines, and arrested a number of persons who have to serve outstanding prison sentences. Stolen cars, stolen license plates, blackjacks, pepper spray and fake weapons were found and confiscated. The Tax Authority also collected thousands of euros in outstanding taxes, or seized cars to cover that debt.