In a scheme dubbed the "Romanian method" by the Dutch media, the creative robbers used a modified van to speed up behind the delivery truck, break open the truck’s hatch and transfer the popular smartphones back into the van through a sunroof-like hole, Dutch Police Spokesman Ed Kraszewski announced.
Dutch authorities were able to track them down to a luxury holiday park. Upon searching their cottage, police found about half a million euros worth of the Apple phones, along with the van specifically designed to carry out their movie-like heist.
The spokesman stated officers were initially skeptical that such a heist could be pulled off. "The truck was taking its freight from A to B and did not stop. Even so, [the iPhones] were gone," Kraszewski told reporters. "So it must have happened that way, and now we finally have the evidence with the van and the loot."
The thieves are also being accused of 17 other similar robberies that date back to 2015.
Since only five of the alleged 17 robberies were committed in the Netherlands, it’s not clear whether they will be tried there – Romania might ask for the group to be extradited over crimes that took place elsewhere in Europe, NL Times reported.
Dutch officials are planning to send the suspects’ fingerprints to European colleagues to see whether any other crimes could be linked to the group.
Romanian authorities released footage recorded from a police helicopter in 2012 of a similar raid, where tricksters drove up behind a truck to steal goods while other members held back traffic in other vehicles.
The Romanian gang is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.