According to a report in the Kurier newspaper the five Romanians begged on the streets but were actually raking in cash by breaking into as many as 80 houses across Austria, stealing cars and tricking people out of their money.
After burgling some homes they even took the opportunity to shower whilst the owners were sleeping.
Police said in a press release that the gang of five stole goods worth an estimated total of €130,000.
The alleged ringleader is a 37-year-old man who was arrested two weeks ago at Salzburg train station. Police began investigating him after they suspected him of being involved in the theft of a Mercedes in Austria last year.
The car was later found in Hungary and a 22-year-old Romanian man was arrested. Investigations led police to his accomplices – a 29-year-old Romanian woman, two Romanian men aged 21 and 40, as well as the 37-year-old ‘boss’.
Police said the group would beg during the day and scope out houses occupied by elderly people.
They would knock on people’s doors and ask if they could fill an empty bottle with water. Whilst the elderly victim went to get water an accomplice would sneak into the house and look for valuables.
The 29-year-old woman is also reported to have offered men sexual favours and “massage” in their homes. Whilst she was busy an accomplice would steal jewellery and cash.
On more than one occasion the gang broke into houses in the night whilst the occupants were sleeping and used their showers and toilets.