BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Prosecutors detained 14 people Friday who are suspected of belonging to a network of well-dressed robbers who were trained to rob luxury items in Romania and the European Union.
The alleged leader was among those detained and prosecutors have asked for their arrest.
"They were trained to break windows and steal very expensive watches in a short time, 30 seconds," said police spokesman Mihai Pitulescu, adding that one heist netted 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million).
They wore designer suits for the heists, and allegedly committed 10 million euros ($10.9 million) of theft since 2013 in Romania, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Andorra, Croatia and Belgium.
Investigators say they found jewelry, watches, and cars including a purple Rolls Royce in more than 50 house searches.
Members who were recruited from Romania's poor northeast signed an agreement with "the Academy of Romanian Criminals," providing personal details about their families, and a strand of hair for identification purposes, investigators said. Houses with blacked-out windows were rented for training.
Mediafax news agency reported the robbers were recruited from children's homes and poor families, and some dressed in women's clothes during the heists.
Police say 200 detectives including special forces and secret service agents took part in the investigation.