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Handpicked burglars’ group dismantled in DIICOT’s most expensive operation. 14 persons on remand

Handpicked burglars’ group dismantled in DIICOT’s most expensive operation. 14 persons on remand

A handpicked criminal group, known as the Academy of the Romanian Offenders, was dismantled by Romanian prosecutors in an unprecedented case in the history of the Directorate for Organized Crime and Terrorism Investigation (DIICOT).

The group, based on really military rules, was specialized in burglaries in luxury shops abroad. The offenders were mainly acting in Belgium, Great Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Croatia, but also in other countries.

DIICOT prosecutors on Thursday conducted 52 searches in this case, with 34 persons being brought for hearings, including 22 suspects. On Friday morning prosecutors placed under remand 14 persons, while three others are subject to legal restrictions pending trial.

The group’s leader was Adrian Botez, who actually set up the Academy of the Romanian Offenders. He runs it from jail, where he is serving a ten-year prison sentence for attempting to murder another shady leader, Dumitru Mironescu. Botez was released from jail by mistake last year, but subsequently has been captured and put behind bars again.

The value of the group’s thefts exceeds EUR 10 M. According to judicial sources quoted by local media, only in one burglary last year committed in jewelry shop in UK goods worth 1.2 million pounds have been stolen.

Over 100 men from Neamt have been recruited in the Academy. The members of the group had a written etiquette code of the offender, approved by “the supreme commander”, Adrian Botez. The code comprised clues how they can get rid of the investigators. The suspects were using safe houses in Bucharest, Cluj and Constanta for trainings, which usually lasted 90 days.

DIICOT investigation cost EUR 300,000, being one of the most expensive ones conducted by the institution.

“This is a unique case in DIICOT history since 2004 up to now. A joint commission consisting of Romanian, British and Belgium prosecutors has been set up around this case. DIICOT prosecutors have made over 50 rogatory letters in this case to clear up the entire situation,” Georgiana Hosu, DIICOT deputy chief prosecutor told Digi 24.

She also said that each attach was usually lasting 60 seconds, and each participant had his own part. “They were acting following the method of the famous Serbian group, the Pink Panther (…) The burglaries were committed in the day or during the night, with Molotov cocktails being also used to break in the stores, ” Hosu explained.

DIICOT deputy chief prosecutor showed that when a member of the group was arrested, he used to inform the leader through letters addressed to his family, using a coded language. The leader was thus noticed on the mistakes that caused his capturing, on the other colleagues’ mistakes. “The group leader was sure the captured member was going to keep his mouth shot. The group was respecting omerta code of silence. I don’t see, don’t hear, don’t talk,” Hosu concluded.

 

About Alina Grigoras Butu