French Police, supported by Europol, have hit a Moldovan crime group involved in large-scale organised property crime perpetrated in France and Belgium. Operation 'VELO '94', carried out in the late hours of 13 September 2015 with the cooperation of the Central Office for Combating Itinerant Delinquency, Interpol, Moldovan and Belgian law enforcement officers, resulted in 12 arrests and 13 house searches. Laptops, telephones, vehicles and burglary tools were also seized by law enforcement.
The operation began at a restaurant in Paris, where the suspects had met to attend a marital event, and continued late into the night and then the early hours of 14 September 2015 in various locations in the Paris metropolitan area. Two other Moldovan nationals, charged in an operation supported by Europol in 2014, were located and arrested in order to be sent to court.
At the same time, valuable intelligence gathering activities took place, expanding the insight into the racketeering and extortion activities carried out by the upper levels of the Moldovan groups active in France.
The organised criminal group in question was known to target bicycle storage facilities and specialised shops, stealing high-value bicycles and transporting them to Moldova and Ukraine, resulting in multi-million Euro damages.
Europol provided continuous support to the French Police of Créteil throughout the entire investigation by facilitating the development of intelligence and crime analysis, and providing financial support for the operational activities.
The sum of operational measures heavily impacted the criminal activities of the targeted Moldovan mobile organised crime group, and demonstrated the resolve of the French authorities to take firm action against such mobile networks.