Even after more than three decades, they're well-known in Belgium as the "Crazy Brabant Killers," for good reason. As the Guardian explains, the ruthless gang killed 28 people, including children, in a series of brazen robberies of supermarkets and other sites in the early 1980s. The raids abruptly stopped after a 1985 supermarket robbery in which the gang killed eight people and made off with less than $25,000, but police are still on the case. This week, detectives released a photo they received in 1986 of a man holding a semi-automatic rifle who is believed to be a member of the group. The move comes as investigators make a fresh start in cracking the case before the statute of limitations runs out in 2025. All kinds of theories have surfaced over the years, including that the gang members were part of, or at least had ties to, a since-disbanded police paramilitary force.
That's partly because they were so proficient with weapons and partly because they were always one step ahead of police, notes the Brussels Times. Another theory holds that the motives were political, to destabilize the government at the time. Earlier this year, authorities began collecting DNA samples from hundreds of Belgians as part of the investigation. In a typical robbery, three men in face paint—known as the Giant, the Killer, and the Old Man—would take what cash they could and shoot anyone in their way. A wanted poster released by the Belgian Gendarmerie has sketches of the suspects. (Read more Belgium stories.)