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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 22:16 GMT
'Spider Girl' gang held in Chile
By Jane Chambers
BBC News, Santiago

The girls scaled buildings in the Chilean capital Santiago
Police have arrested two members of one of Chile's most notorious gangs, known as the Spider Girls.

The all-girl gang of teenagers were infamous for climbing up buildings in Santiago to burgle luxury apartments.

In a spate of high-profile robberies in 2005, they made off with thousands of pounds worth of jewellery.

Their arrests have sparked off a debate about the country's judicial system as juveniles, under the age of 18, receive lower sentences.

'Liked clothes'

Lurking in the gardens of expensive parts of Santiago, the four girls hurled ropes and hooks up to balcony railings, hauled themselves up and walked through the flat windows.

They then walked out of the buildings as if they were visitors.

The gang members were arrested last year but three of them were sent to reform school rather than prison because of their age.

They vowed to change their ways but after being released, one Spider Girl, Yasna, returned to her old tricks, recruiting a new member, Marcielle.

Despite both being heavily pregnant, they still managed to climb up to the third floor of some flats.

They were apprehended when a security guard became suspicious and called the police.

One ex-Spider Girl, Jocelyn, said of the gang's motivation: "We did it because we wanted money in our pockets. We like to buy new clothes."

Many Chileans have been angered by the girls' antics, saying the law is too soft and needs to be changed so under 18- year-olds get tougher punishments and do not think they are above the law.

Country profile: Chile
05 Sep 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Chile
24 Aug 06 |  Country profiles

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