By: NATASHA SMITH
A GANG of thieves broke into two estate agencies and a property management office in Bouganvília Plaza shopping centre, in Quinta do Lago, on Monday morning and stole plasma screen televisions, computers and LCD monitors.
A group, believed to be five youths aged between 15 and 20, are said to have thrown rocks and shot at the windows with hunting rifles in order to gain access to the three offices at around 2.30am.
A security guard who was patrolling Quinta Shopping, which is adjacent to Bouganvília Plaza shopping centre, was alerted to the sound of glass smashing and hurried to the scene, where the security alarms had also gone off.
As he approached, one of the thieves fired a shot into the air, according to Hermes Alberto, who runs Quinta do Lago’s security company Vigiquinta.
The Resident spoke to Juliana Chaveca from Jorge Apolo Property Sales, who said that their alarm went off when the glass was broken and a wall mounted television was stolen. She said that Vigiquinta notified them about the robbery soon after it occurred.
She recalled that there had been an attempted robbery the previous year, where part of the window was smashed but the person or persons were not able to get inside.
The gang also made off with two LCD monitors, two computers and a plasma screen TV from the other two offices, Portman property management and Ria Estates.
It is believed that both offices had been fitted with reinforced glass. Police believe it is likely that the gang were aware that two had more durable glass windows, which is why they were shot at with the rifles.
The gang then fled the area in a black Renault Clio, according to witness reports, which had been reported stolen in Vilamoura and headed in the direction of Quarteira.
Police also suspect the gang robbed a perfume shop less than an hour later, at around 3.30am, in Quarteira, as the modus operandi was the same at both crime scenes. Rocks and bullets were used to pierce the store windows.
Police are also investigating the possibility that the same group was involved in another two robberies in Vilamoura three days previously, among others across the Algarve. In those robberies, more plasma screens and monitors were taken and nothing else.
Witnesses at both scenes described the gang and said they use hooded jumpers to disguise their faces.
An elderly English couple were mugged in Vilamoura at the weekend and police believe this may again be the work of the gang following correlations between the couple’s description of their appearance and ages and witness reports from the other crimes.
Police are searching the areas for any other witnesses and leads, which could result in the arrest of the gang members.
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