After a dramatic shoot-out, which onlookers said was reminiscent of a movie scene, police officers captured four criminals believed to be responsible for a string of attacks perpetrated by the so called “Line Gang”, which has been operating on the Cascais Linha.
An officer from the Judicial Police and one of the suspects were injured in several exchanges of gunfire following a lengthy car chase. The incident began at around midday on December 2, when four men, two black and two white, stormed the main post office at Prior Velho. The gang, armed with sawn-off shotguns, attacked a member of staff. “They took very little money, but left the post office manager with multiple injuries,” said a police source.
The manager said that, when he saw the gang, he panicked and seized a fire extinguisher. One of the gang then hit him several times in the face with a rifle butt – a beating so violent that the 44-year-old victim needed 27 stitches to his left eye. As they left, the thieves stole 208 euros from a customer about to enter the post office.
The gang immediately moved on to rob a service station in Olival Basto in Odivelas. Then, travelling at high speed in a blue Audi A4 that they had stolen the previous evening, they crossed the 25 de Abril Bridge towards Margem Sul and robbed another driver in Almada. When they reached the north-south carriageway of the A2, the gang noticed that the Judicial Police officers were following them. This caused one of the gang to open fire, causing a collision and injuring one officer. Officers managed to detain two of the suspects – the other two hijacked another car, left the A2 and entered the Estrada Nacional, where they were eventually captured after a further exchange of gunfire near Lagameças.
Gang linked to restaurant attack
Police suspect one of the detainees was also involved in an attack on the restaurant ‘O Páteo’ in Xabregas earlier the same day. The restaurant, renowned for its famous diners such as Luís Filipe Vieira, President of Benfica FC, was raided shortly before 1am last week. Five individuals, armed with sawn-off shotguns, a pistol and three knives, attacked one of the proprietors and threatened staff and clients. They stole 514 euros in money and 725 euros in cheques, as well as mobile phones and gold articles. Other notable attacks, which police believe could be linked to this gang, include raids on a restaurant in Oeiras in October and a Lisbon café in June. These robberies netted 5,000 and 16,500 euros respectively.