NEWS

‘Olympic’ bulldozer gang bust

An international gang that stole trucks and bulldozers from around Europe and sold them in Greece, where some may have been used on Olympics construction projects, was smashed after police raids yesterday. After an eight-month operation called «Operation Empty,» involving Italian authorities and Interpol, Attica police arrested nine people in Athens on suspicion of being involved in the theft of the vehicles, forging documents and their illegal sale in Greece. Another 23 suspects are being sought in connection with the crimes. One of them is a 57-year-old, as yet unnamed, Greek who is thought to be the ring leader. It is the largest criminal gang of its kind ever detected in Europe, said the chief of Attica police, Brigadier Stephanos Skotis. Officers added that they considered it highly likely that many of the trucks and diggers – which the gang sold for up to 130,000 euros – were used in works for the Athens Games. Some 45 lorries and three bulldozers have been seized and 70 more are still missing. All the vehicles were stolen over the past four years.