Police Miss Fourth Fourth Burglar in Closet; Gang was Released From Prison under Decongestion Bill

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017
Last Update: 13:40

The fourth perpetrator of Monday’s violent burglary in Palaio Faliro was hiding in the closet for 14 hours and then fled, as police had failed to look for him there.

The four burglars had tied up an elderly woman in her apartment in the Athens seaside suburb and robbed her. Neighbors who heard the noise notified the police that rushed to the spot at the moment the four men were ready to flee from the rooftop. After the ensuing chase, two men were arrested and the third plunged to his death. Police found a bag full of stolen jewelry and a handgun.

Police searched the apartment and took fingerprints in the premises. About 14 hours after the incident, the son of the woman sniffed a bad smell coming from the closet. He opened the closet and the fourth burglar jumped out wearing a facemask and brandishing a gun. After threatening everyone in his pass with the gun, he fled the scene and disappeared.

Ironically, even though police took fingerprints of the closet, no one opened the door to look inside.

Some of the burglars were in prison for murder but released under prison decongestion bill

The burglar who was killed while trying to escape was a Moldavian national who was previously in prison for murder and armed robbery. The two men arrested were an Armenian who was previously incarcerated for armed robberies and a Russian national who had served time for bank robberies.

After the event, the justice ministry is considering excluding from the prison decongestion bill criminals who were imprisoned for homicide and murder. Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis stated that in parliament on Monday, responding to a relevant question by New Democracy MP Kostas Karagounis. The minister defended the bill drafted by his predecessor, Nikos Paraskevopoulos, saying that “it will continue to be in effect,” however he is examining the exclusion of certain crimes. “For us, decongesting prisons is not an end in itself, rather the means to achieve better living conditions and ability to implement correction for actions. Right now we are trying to introduce second opportunity schools in all correctional facilities because prisons should be a place of reformation and recovery of values,” he said. Karagounis said that his party opposes the bill, stating many instances of prisoners who were released early by taking advantage of the bill in order to commit more crimes.

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