The men are believed to have been stealing iPhones from moving trucks on highways in the Netherlands and other European countries for several years. The group could be involved in as many as 17 such heists.
Dutch police arrested five Romanian men as part of an investigation into a criminal ring that brazenly stole iPhones from moving trucks on highways, a spokesperson said Monday.
Authorities made the arrests in Otterlo over the weekend and found a half a million euros ($587,000) worth of iPhones during the raid, police spokesman Ed Kraszewski said.
The men are suspected of tailgating electronics delivery trucks with a modified van so that one of the thieves could climb onto the hood and break into the trucks while the vehicles were driving down the highway.
The thief would then pass the iPhones back to their co-conspirators in the van without the truck driver ever noticing.
Kraszewski said that police have been investigating missing iPhones from trucks for some time but didn't think that such a method was possible.
The last late-night heist took place a week ago.
"The truck was taking its freight from A to B and did not stop. Even so, (the phones) were gone," he said. "So it must have happened that way. And now we finally have the evidence, with the van and the loot."
Of the 17 truck heists believed to have been carried out the by the gang, five were in the Netherlands.
Dutch police will send the suspects' fingerprints to other countries' law enforcement to see if there is a match with similar heists.
cw/se (AP, dpa)