A months-long police operation has led to the arrest of 12 people aged 21 to 41 years old and suspected of running a gang that was responsible for stealing hundreds of cars in the Attica area.
The gang is believed to be responsible for at least 500 car thefts over the past five years, the Hellenic Police (ELAS) said in an announcement on Monday, adding that it has evidence directly linking the suspects to 22 thefts so far.
One of the suspects, aged 28, is thought to have been the coordinator of the gang, which was headed by another two of the arrested men, aged 29 and 32 respectively.
The latter two are charged with actually carrying out the thefts using specially designed software that overrode their targets’ immobilizer system, allowing the thieves to hijack the vehicle in well under a minute.
The cars would be sold as is or chopped up for parts and scrap in different parts of the country, particularly in Crete and in Messinia in the southwest Peloponnese.
Raids on properties linked to the suspects have so far turned up 20 car engines and more than 150 engine control units, among other evidence.