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Police recover stolen jewellery in Carvoeiro

By INÊS LOPES [email protected]

Police have recovered “90%” of items stolen from a jewellery shop in the centre of Carvoeiro, in the Lagoa council, on January 21.

The robbery, which took place at around 6am, was witnessed by a resident living opposite the Imagine jewellery store, who called both the GNR police and the shop owner, Dutchman Robert Sanders.

The witness, who did not wish to be named, told the Algarve Resident: “I woke up with the noise of the robbers forcing the shop’s metal shutter open with a crowbar. I saw two men wearing balaclavas – one was on a plastic chair destroying the alarm device outside the shop, while the other prepared to enter the establishment door that faces Rua dos Pescadores.”

In a few minutes, the robbers manage to fill a bag full of gold, diamonds and watches, worth around €150,000, and flee the scene on foot.

A police chase ensued around the town but the men, in their 30s, escaped.

The bag was later found hidden in a water meter cabinet of a holiday home in Monte Carvoeiro.

The German property owner alerted the authorities at the weekend of his discovery and during police surveillance of the house on Sunday, they managed to arrest one of the robbers who had gone to the location to retrieve the bag.

Shop owner Robert Sanders, whose family first opened the jewellery store in 1981 in Carvoeiro, spoke to the Algarve Resident on Tuesday about the incident.

“I can confirm that around 90% of the items stolen have been recovered, although I believe some were lost during the police chase as the bag contained holes,” he said.

“I am very pleased with the way the police handled this case. I feel much more relieved now.”

Robert Sanders added that the shop had been robbed a couple of times before, but only of a few pieces of jewellery.

“I have never experienced anything as serious as this,” he said, adding that he had to indentify the detainee, who is of Romanian nationality. The suspect has since been released pending trial

The shop will remain closed “for at least another month” for damage assessment.

The other robber is still at large and the police investigation will continue.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese Association of Jewellery and Watch Dealers said recently that jewellery theft by organised-crime rings has risen in the country due to the value of gold increasing (€34 per gramme) combined with the serious economic crisis.

According to the association, one jewellery shop has been robbed every day in Portugal since the beginning of the year. In December alone, 53 jewellery store robberies were registered.