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Cyprus

Third suspect arrested in safety deposit box thefts

Police have arrested a third suspect, a 28-year-old man, in connection with the theft of some €500,000 in cash and jewellery from safety deposit boxes in two banks in Larnaca.

The suspect, who was remanded in custody for two days, is the brother of a 32-year-old woman arrested along with her husband, 36, on suspicion of stealing around €490,000 in cash and €10,000 worth of jewellery from safety deposit boxes at Bank of Cyprus and Solidarity co-op bank.

He is suspected of giving police false information regarding the purchase of a three-wheel motorcycle found at the home of the 36-year-old when he was arrested last week.

It is believed that the man sought to deceive police in a bid to help the first suspect.

The suspect said he had purchased the motorcycle, a Bombardier Spyder, from a shop in Limassol for €11,000.

The man, who is on a €1,200 monthly wage, alleged that he bought the Spyder with money that he had saved.

However, the seller of the motorcycle could not remember the 28-year-old and that he had never met him at his shop.

The suspect also told officers that the seller he had spoken to was called Pambos. The seller’s name was not Pambos.

And the vehicle was never transferred to the suspect’s name. A transfer form found at the home of the first suspect bore the name and signature of the seller and the buyer but police believe it had been forged after the fact.

When arrested the suspect said “I didn’t do anything.”

Police said the thefts took place between March 2015 and January this year.

The safety boxes at the two banks were in vaults which had not been violated. Police presumed that the break-ins and thefts occurred when the branches were open by a person who had access to the area.

The 36-year-old suspect is the only individual from the list of customers who had a box at the co-op and Bank of Cyprus.

Customers would take their box in the presence of a bank employee who would then leave.

Once customers were done, the bank employee would replace the box back and once it was locked, would exit the room.

There were no security cameras in the rooms where the safety deposits are stored.

According to police, when the 36-year-old suspect accessed his safety deposit, he would request to remain for twice the amount of time other clients spent – around 20 minutes – instead of 10 and always had two bags with him.

His visits coincided with the period the thefts took place, police said.

 

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