updated 01/14/2014 AT 8:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/14/2014 AT 7:00 AM ET
In what is being called a breakthrough in a long and frustrating crime, British Metropolitan Police are said to be targeting three burglars for their possible involvement in the 2007 disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann, who was snatched from her hotel room in the Portuguese town of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.
News about the trio, which was accompanied by reports that key arrests were finally imminent, followed a letter sent by the Crown Prosecution Services to authorities in Portugal on Friday, seeking permission to conduct interviews in connection with the case, reports CNN.
“The letter is a significant development. It is necessary for British police to request the Portuguese authorities allow them to operate on their turf,” a spokesperson for Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, told the Mirror.
Pedro do Carmo, deputy national director of the Judiciary Police in Portugal, said the three people have yet to be detained. He also said Portuguese police have been in constant contact with law officials in the U.K.
This new bump in the case comes nearly three months after new computer-generated police sketches of potential suspects were released. Investigators also made a new public appeal on the BBC program Crimewatch, which aired in the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany.