LAUSANNE / GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Police in canton Vaud say five men who “did not hesitate to use violence”, who wore masks or hoods, and who carried guns have been arrested after close cross-border work by police in cantons Vaud and Geneva, with French and Dutch police. The gang is suspected of being behind a series of robberies, often accompanied by violence, carried out mainly in canton Vaud in 2010 and 2011, as well as thefts of vehicles in Geneva and Vaud.
The five are suspected of holding up gas stations at gunpoint, of breaking into homes and of the theft of a number of cars and motorcycles, for a total of about CHF250,000. All are repeat offenders, Portuguese or from Cape Verde; one is wanted in Portugal in connection with a “serious crime”, say Vaud police.
Based in Geneva, Vaud, but with international links
One of the five left his DNA at the scene of one of the crimes and police were able to begin tracking the group from there. The first arrest took place in June 2012 near Moudon. The group, ages 20 to 29, lived in Moudon and Geneva.
Two men were arrested outside Switzerland on international arrest warrants, one in France and the other in The Netherlands.
Most of the crimes were carried out in the region of La Broye:
- the post office robbery in Lucens 11 December 2010
- train station office holdup in Granges-près-Marnand 13 December 2010
- an attack in the street, in Moudon 18 December 2011
- an attack at the home of a couple in Taverne 4 March 2011
- the holdup of a Raiffeisen bank in Granges-près-Marnand 8 April 2011
- and the explosion using gas of a bancomat at the BCV in Corcelles-près-Payerne 23 June 2011, which caused more than CHF200,000 in damages.
Police continue to investigate the methods used and number of crimes committed. Based on partial or complete admissions of guilt the police say they operated in pairs or as a larger group depending on the crime and generally used stolen vehicles, which they sometimes burned afterwards.