Bank president victim of luxury hotel robbers

President of the bank BIC, Mira Amaral, was reportedly one of the victims of the two villains believed to be working for a professional international criminal network which has been targeting affluent guests at luxury hotels in the Algarve.

The two crooks, said to be Algerian and part of a large organisation financing extremist groups, mingled with tourists on Quinta do Lago beach, near Hotel Quinta do Lago where Amaral was staying on holiday with his wife, reported Correio da Manhã newspaper.

Quinta do Lago beach is frequented by numerous public figures and well known personalities of different nationalities.

The two thieves waited their chance and allegedly stole a hotel room access card bearing Amaral’s room number. According to that newspaper, they then surreptitiously went to the room and stole two cases, a collection of Swatch watches, jewellery belonging to Amaral’s wife, an iPad and shoes.

But there was a happy ending to the story as all of the items were recovered when police captured the two men following a similar crime at another Algarve hotel.

Surveillance video

Amaral told Correio da Manhã he was “relieved” not because of the monetary value but their sentimental value and he praised the police for their efficient action.

He said that when going on holiday he always brought with him his collection of watches of various colours to match his summer clothes.

He also stressed that the security video system in the hotel had been vital in identifying the thieves.

A lawyer from Cascais was also among the dozen or more victims in recent week when bags and mobile phones were stolen while he was visiting Quinta do Lago beach.

The authorities are also investigating other incidents in the Lisbon area where the network is suspected of operating.

The Portuguese authorities are in contact with the French authorities via Interpol in an effort to identify the members of the network which is believed to be operating in various European cities and tourist havens.

The Algarve Resident contacted the GNR for a comment regarding the theft involving Miral Amaral, but a spokesperson said “the GNR would not comment on this particular case”.

Hotel Quinta do Lago was also contacted for a comment but a response had not been received at the time of going to press on Wednesday.