Maltese police break organised foreign crime ring commiting pickpocketing thefts

Following a major investigative operation with several foreign police forces overseas, the Malta Police Force have arrested three Romanian nationals who form part of an organised crime ring specialised in pickpocketing at various tourist venues and locations which are usually crowded.

The three Romanians were arriagned in court today beofre Duty Magistarte Dr Charmaine Galea. The men are Teodor Dumitrescu, 54, a driver, Vasilica-Lionel Harabagiu, 39, a hairdresser and Marian Tenescu, 40, a fitter and who all had been arrested in St. Julian’s. They already had a prior 2018 conviction on pickpocketing, and in court they pleaded not guilty through their lawyer, Dr Lennox Vella. None of the accused have a place of residence in Malta.

The prosecution was led Inspectors Shawn Pawney, Tomjoe Farrugia and Jonathan Ransley, with the latter explaining to the court that following several recived reports of pickpocketing, the accused were were identified and followed by the police, given their prior convictions in Malta. “The first thing they did was steal from the airport.” 

A police statement revealed that through ‘Intelligence-Led-Policing’, the Malta Police Force is being pro-active in these types of crimes. Investigations were conducted jointly by several districts and specialized branches. From investigations conducted, it was revealed that the accused had already carried out thefts in Malta for some days during the summer months, after which they left the Islands for another mcountry

The suspects arrived again in Malta on Monday on a flight from Budapest in Hungary. At the airport, the police kept them under surveillance and observed them catching a bus to a St Julians hotel, where they were arrested.

Through collaboration with law eneforcement entities in foreign countries, as well as with Europol and Interpol, it turned out the accused have been committing these crimes since 2010 in several European countries that attract tourists.