One of the toughest gangs of home invaders, who even committed murders, was dismantled by police. Five Pakistani members of the criminal organisation were arrested, including the leader, while two murders motivated by robbery and three cases of robbery and attempted murder were solved.
A series of wild robberies with stabbings, lots of beating and torture
In both murders, their victims, a 74-year-old Greek and a 47-year-old Pakistani, were mercilessly tortured before the knife-wielding robbers killed them.
In the case of the unfortunate old man, the killers broke into his property in April 2021, in the 3rd floor apartment where he lived alone in Athens. After being severely beaten in the toilet, he was then handcuffed and dragged into the house's storage room where he was strangled.
"His hands and feet were tied with clothes, with his hands additionally tied with a cable of an electrical device - a steam iron […]. According to the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, the person's death was a result of head injuries - strong tightening of the neck caused by strangulation," the police report, as seen by Proto Thema, stated.
For the case, a special police unit was set up and a thorough investigation and utilisation of information was carried out, while in the context of a coordinated police operation, the five members of the organisation were arrested on Thursday afternoon in Athens.
As emerged at least since last September, they formed and joined a criminal group, with distinct roles to commit murders and robberies in the wider area of Athens centre.
The leading member was responsible for coordinating the attacks. He, along with three other members perpetrated violence against the victims. The fifth acted as a look-out.
Regarding their modus operandi, the gang members, having as a "base" two houses in central Athens, carried out the robberies, either by breaking into shops or by surprise attacks on the street, during which they used particular violence (use of a knife and, in some cases, a gun) against their victims.
The first defendant, whose age has not been determined as he is reported to have been born in 1972 or 1962 or 1969, acted as the leader of the criminal organisation and was responsible for coordinating the attacks.
Three Pakistanis, aged 23, 28, 21, committed violence against the victims. Another Pakistani, aged 47, acted as a look-out.
As established by the investigation, the defendants used as a base two houses, one in Omonia and another in Kerameikos, where they moved on a case-by-case basis before and after their acts.
Following the above, a special operational team was set up with the aim of locating them. After a thorough investigation, the five members of the criminal group were located on Artemisiou Street in Athens.
After a coordinated operation, the five accused were arrested. In a search carried out in two houses, clothing worn in the robbery attacks, as well as a specific military-style knife with which they stabbed their victims and which, when found, had traces of blood.
From the investigation it was established that as part of the action of the criminal group, the defendants committed a homicide against a 47-year-old Pakistani citizen and a homicide against a 74-year-old national, motivated by robbery, as well as three cases of robbery and attempted murder against three foreign nationals.
The defendants accept the accusations against them.
Regarding the homicide against the elderly person, the victim, according to the police report, "was found murdered at 1:15 p.m. on April 22, 2021, inside a 3rd floor apartment where he lived alone on 28th October Street in Athens."
The perpetrator of homicide is the second accused member of the criminal organisation.
The elderly man was found murdered by his nephew, who went there to take his uncle to the doctor. As he did not answer the bell and the phone was switched off, his nephew decided to open the apartment door with the help of a locksmith and then realised that his uncle was dead. He then notified the police.
The victim's hands and feet were bound with clothes, with his hands additionally bound with the cable of an iron.
During a search of the apartment, fingerprints were found, including the defendant's. From a combined evaluation of the evidence obtained from the security camera and witness statements, it was established that the second defendant entered the victim's home and left two hours later.
The next day, the victim was found dead by the nephew. In his confession, the second defendant confessed to committing the murders, describing his actions in a manner consistent with the autopsy.
A Pakistani man was found murdered in the early hours of February 5, 2023. The police report states that "he was found in the room where he lived, which was located at the back of an electronics store on Philadelphias Street in the Larissa station area."
According to the medical examiner, who performed the autopsy, the victim suffered a fatal chest wound, multiple stab and cutting wounds to the left arm and left groin. A team immediately went to the scene of the crime to conduct an autopsy and search for witnesses.
In the area where the victim was found, an image of a previous fight was observed. From speaking with those close to the victim, it emerged that he was collecting large sums of money, which he hid inside his store until he transferred them to banking institutions in Greece.
It should be noted that no amount of money was found during the autopsy. From the observation of the visual material on the cameras of the victim's store, it emerged that at about 10:20 a.m. on February 5, 2023, four men entered the victim's store, pretending to be customers, and then attacked him.
One of the attackers was holding him and the other attacked with a knife. Upon further investigation it was determined that the fifth member of the group was outside the store. All members of the criminal gang confessed to their involvement in the murder.
Back stabbing and plastic bag on the head
In connection with the attempted murder and robbery of a Pakistani national, which took place in the morning hours of September 8, 2022 at 20 Agios Dimitriou Street in Agioi Anargyrou, it is noted that "three of the perpetrators, holding knives, attacked in the street and after mobilising the victim, first stabbed him in the shoulder blade and then took away his personal belongings and money amounting to 2,500 euros. The victim was transferred to an on-call hospital and was hospitalised for two days".
Below is a second case of attempted murder and robbery against a Bangladeshi national which took place in the evening hours of January 11, 2023 at 103 Agios Meletiou Street in Athens.
"In particular, three of the perpetrators broke into the victim's electronic goods trading and cross-border payment processing store, at the moment when he was about to close the store. With the threat of a knife, they pushed him into the store's bathroom, put a plastic bag over his head and tied him up.
"After searching the place, they then stabbed him in both buttocks as they couldn't find any more money. The perpetrators eventually took 3,500 euros and mobile phones and then fled. The victim was taken to an on-call hospital where he was treated for 20 days.
"The third attempted murder and robbery against a Bangladeshi citizen, which took place in the evening hours of December 24, 2022, occurred when he was leaving the electronics trading and cross-border payment processing store he runs on Agios Konstantinou Street in Athens.
"In particular, when the victim was leaving his store, the three perpetrators entered the store and with the threat of a knife pushed him inside the store, stabbing him on the right side and at the same time closed the blinds.
"The perpetrators searched the premises and with the threat of a knife took 12,000 euros and mobile phones and then fled."