Guardia Civil detains alleged perpetrator of drain cover thefts

Investigating officers from the Guardia Civil in Xàbia implemented Operación Trapa to track down the stolen covers to a warehouse in Benissa.

Monday 12th April 2021 | PRESS RELEASE; translation MIKE SMITH

The Guardia Civil has reported the arrest on March 25th of a 24-year-old Spanish man as the alleged perpetrator of the theft of 160 drain covers in Xàbia. The traps were carried in his vehicle to a scrap metal shop in Benissa, where they were later sent to be melted in Valencia. For this reason, three workers of this business have also been charged with a possible receiving stolen goods charge.

During the month of March, Xàbia Council informed the Guardia Civil of the removal of 160 drain and manhole covers in the municipality. These large covers, which are made of cast iron, are valued at 120 euros each, thus giving a total loss of 19,200 euros. However, regardless of the economic amount, the non-existence of these traps constitutes a potential danger for vehicles and pedestrians, to such an extent that a person was injured with a broken leg when he fell into one of the holes. These events caused a growing social alarm among the residents of the town.

Investigating officers from the Guardia Civil in Xàbia implemented Operación Trapa and were able to discover how after the theft of the covers, they were transported in a vehicle to a scrap metal warehouse located in an industrial estate in the neighbouring town of Benissa.

On March 25th, as a result of this work by the Guardia Civil, officers were able to surprise the alleged perpetrator of the thefts red-handed, selling several covers at the metal recovery facility mentioned above. He was arrested and officers carried out an inspection of the warehouse where they found 35 covers with the same characteristics and numerous irregularities in the registry books in this regard. Therefore, these were confiscated, as well as the vehicle used in the theft.

Due to these facts, the detainee has been charged with a continuous crime of theft, while the scrap yard workers, a woman and a man, both Moldovans and another Romanian, all of them aged between 33 and 41 years, have been charged under suspicion of receiving stolen goods because they were allegedly acquiring the covers knowing that they could have been stolen.

On March 26th, the detainee attended court and was released on bail whilst the seized covers were returned to Xàbia Council. After subsequent investigations, the Guardia Civil discovered that the remaining covers had been sent to a foundry located in Valencia, where they had already been melted down.

Information Source
Press Release (Guardia Civil)