End of the line: Graffiti gang responsible for damaging trains across Europe arrested in Spain

MEMBERS of a graffiti gang believed responsible for damaging more than 2,000 train carriages across Europe are under arrest in Spain.

The Guardia Civil suspect the graffitists of daubing their marks on trains in Cantabria, Asturias, Burgos, the Basque Country, Valencia, Madrid and the Balearic Islands, but also Italy, Germany, Romania, Portugal, the Netherlands, France and Sweden.

The total damage, according to the Guardia, could add up to as much a €6 million cost to private companies and public funds.

The detainees are three men suspected of actually doing the graffiti and a woman who had responsibility for the logistics and for recording images of their handwork. All are aged between 26 and 28.

The Guardia launched their investigation at the end of June after three males put their so-called ‘tags’ on Transcantabrian train carriages while it was at Unquera station in Cantabria.

From the images recorded of the trio investigating officers were able to pick out some of the features, which put together with information from other police investigations on individuals with the same signatures led to their identification.

One from Burgos and one from Vizcaya had been known to the authorities for some years and had past arrests for graffiti.

The Guardia were subsequently able to establish connections between the four detainees, such as trips together in Spain and abroad and identifications in locations near to where the graffiti was done, leading to the conclusion they were dealing with an organised gang.

The Guardia’s Criminology Service Graffics Department set about carrying out a pioneering comparison of graffiti tags using photos of one definite with photographs of train carriages daubed with the same tags this year and last. They established that graffiti on 17 trains in Cantabria was the work of one person, the total cost of the damage €65,000.

When officers searched the Burgos homes of the individual considered the most active member of the gang and the woman they seized more than 2,000 photos of graffiti on trains, mainly bearing the young man man’s tag. They also seized computers, memory sticks and sketches of his signature tag, along with clothing with traces of paint and spray paint.

The two other suspected gang members were in Copenhagen at this time, but were also later arrested.

A search of one of the individual’s properties, also in Burgos, netted three kilos of marijuana and tablets of hashish, as well as precision scales and other material for dividing drugs up into doses. The Guardia think it is possible he sold drugs to finance his graffiti activities.

The investigation remains open.

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Written by

Cathy Elelman

Cathy Elelman is the local writer for the Costa de Almeria edition of the Euro Weekly News.

Based in Mojacar for the last 21 years, Cathy is very much part of the local community and is always well and truly up on all the latest news and events going on in this region of Spain.

Her top goals are to do the best job she can informing the local English-speaking community, visitors to the area and the wider world about about the news in Almeria, to learn something new every day, and to embrace very new challenge this fast-changing world brings her way.

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