MADRID - Spanish police have arrested 17 people for their role in stealing watches worth 23 million euros ($31 million), resolving one of the country's biggest jewelry heists.
A police statement Thursday said the thieves used sophisticated laser equipment to break into a Madrid watch store in broad daylight in December 2012 and steal the 1,710 watches without setting off alarms.
The gang then made contact with other criminal groups to offload the watches on black markets in China. Police say they have managed to recover 300 of them.
Those arrested included the gang*s alleged mastermind, a man referred to as the "The Troll" who is blamed for several smash-and-grab store robberies on Madrid's wealthy Serrano street.
The arrests were carried out in different phases over the past few months.