The 13 defendants are accused of belonging to a group that reportedly carried out more than 80 thefts between September 2016 and December 2017, when the operation stopped after three of the main suspects were arrested on their return from another robbery.
The robberies took place in Lisbon, Setúbal, Santarém, Évora, Beja, Leiria, Coimbra, Porto and Braga, and used explosions to steal the ATM terminals, in operations in which each member of the gang "obeyed strict rules accepted by all", says the Public Prosecutor, in the indictment to which the Lusa agency had access.
Before the robberies, the members "carefully selected the ATMs", seeking to understand the make and model of the terminal, through transaction consultations of debit cards, taking preference the BAUSSA brand of ATMs which were older and outdated and with fewer security mechanisms", says the Public Prosecutor's Office (MP).
For the robbery, the group resorted to previously stolen cars and used license plates also stolen corresponding to other vehicles.
At the scene, it was customary for the defendants to spray the CCTV cameras, take several pieces of clothing with them to change into after the crimes had been committed and use portable transmitter/receiver radios so as not to use mobile phones, the prosecutor alleges.
According to the indictment, in addition to the material needed for the robbery, such as acetylene gas cylinders and hoses, they were also armed with revolvers and AK-47 rifles, as well as fire extinguishers that they could spray against police vehicles in case of being chased.
The companions of two of the main members of the group brokered contacts with other members and concealed items used in the robberies, usually using the four garages they had in Loures, Oeiras, Cascais and Alcobaça.
The group's action ended when, after a robbery in Torres Novas. When they arrived at the Alcobaça garage with the money, they were intercepted by police who arrested them.