Portuguese authorities are sharing secret dossiers that were compiled on burglars operating near the Praia de Luz resort around the time British girl Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007, giving hope for a breakthrough in the case seven years after the girl disappeared when she was three years old.
Police in Portugal kept the dossiers confidential until now, according to Britain’s Sunday Express.
“Police have a special file on burglars operating in the area,” a businesswoman renting out villas in the neighborhood told the paper. “Most of them are Portuguese and Romanian gypsies. Burglars go anywhere and everywhere in Luz and normally break in during the middle of the night when you’re asleep. Burglars come in and steal your stuff, and sometimes you don’t know about it until you wake up in the morning.”
Madeleine went missing while her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, had dinner with friends at the resort. The girl’s case is the most recognizable missing person’s case in the world since Madeleine disappeared in May 2007.
The businesswoman said the burglaries have been going on since before Madeleine went missing. She said the crimes are known to police but had not been shared with the public.
Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the head of Scotland Yard, told the Daily Mail that British authorities have the names of suspects and that they were making progress on Madeleine’s case. But he wouldn’t say when the suspects would be interviewed.
“We have sent three letters of request for international assistance to the Portuguese judiciary, because that is the way their system works,” he told the BBC’s Radio 5 Live. “We have got lines of inquiry which are different to the Portuguese police’s and we are working with them to try to resolve that. We are making some progress.”
A renewed investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance was made in July. In October, Britain’s Metropolitan Police released sketches of two persons of interest who may have been responsible for the disappearance. The new sketches were made public because of “a new understanding of the events on the evening Madeleine disappeared,” authorities said at the time.