Spanish police arrest 16 people for stealing olives

Thieves operating in Las Vegas, a rural area near Spain’s capital Madrid, managed to steal 17.5 tons of olives from local farms before they were arrested, police said Friday, confirming 16 arrests.

“The Guard has arrested and investigated 21 people involved in the theft of 17,500 kg of olives in the Las Vegas area,” police said, indicating that 16 people have been arrested and five others are under investigation.

In total, they robbed six farms in the Las Vegas area, a rural area southeast of the Spanish capital.

Target olives

The investigation began in January when a farmer complained about the theft of 8,400 kg of olives from his land, and police have linked to other similar incidents in the area involving “a significant amount of olives”.

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In early February, they were warned about the presence of five people in a car carrying 140 kg of olives in broad daylight, but none of them could prove that they were purchased legally.

Investigators then raided two olive presses in the regions of Toledo and Guadalajara that were allegedly receiving the stolen fruit and arrested those responsible.

Theft and fraud allegations

In total, investigators recovered documentation of the exchange of more than 17.5 tons of stolen olives and seized several containers containing more than 6,000 liters of olive oil.

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The detainees, aged between 20 and 57, face charges of various offenses including theft, fraud and receiving stolen goods.