These proceedings were opened against a gang of thieves who acted in several places of the reign of Portugal, such as fairs, markets, roads and private properties. They robbed merchants, tradesmen and several persons in their homes. The defendants were also accused of beating and murdering some of their victims. Although there were several complainers, the most active one was Rodrigo José dos Santos, a goldsmith who feared that once the defendants were released, they would take revenge from their accusers.
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