A 41-year-old man from Akaki in Nicosia district was remanded for six days after police connected him with a Kalashnikov assault rifle found during a search of a Nicosia flat in July.
Police say Charalambos Kosharis’ DNA and fingerprints were found on the weapon which was discovered along with ammunition and a moped in the Nicosia flat of his childhood friend, Costas Kataris.
Though Kataris’ residence was searched as part of investigations into the bloody June 23 Ayia Napa contract killings of businessman Phanos Theophanous Kalopsidiotis and three others, the Kalashnikov was not connected to the gangland style hit. The moped, which was stolen is said to have been used in the theft of the car in which the shooters were taken to the scene of the killings.
Police could not verify reports that DNA material belonging to Alex Burelli, an Albanian believed to be one of the shooters who is still at large and Marios Christodoulou aka ‘Bennis’ who is also being held in connection with the slayings, were also found on the weapon.
Kalopsidiotis, along with police officer Elias Hadjiefthimiou, 46, his wife Skevi, 39, and the couple’s two children were having dinner at the Stone Garden restaurant when two gunmen stormed in with automatic weapons, spraying the area with bullets. Kalopsidiotis, the police officer, his wife and the other suspected Albanian gunman Jani Vogli were all killed in the attack that took place in the heart of the busy popular resort.
After the arrest of six suspects in the case, one of them gave instructions from prison to Kataris to get rid of evidence related to the case, telling him to immediately remove the bike and weapons from the storeroom of the apartment and hide them elsewhere.
The automatic rifle was found wrapped in nylon along with a plastic bag full of various caliber bullets and the scooter which had been reported stolen at Lykavitos police station on May 28 2016.
Marios Christodoulou, aka ‘Bennis’, 38, Ayia Napa cabaret owner Panayiotis Pentafkas, 39, Sophia Gregoriou, 29, and Serbian national, Loy Dejan, 42, who were apprehended following testimony police secured after the arrest of two other suspects, 30-year-old Sotiria Neophytou and her neighbour Charalambos Andreou, 32, are due to stand trial for the killings on September 5.
Andreou and Neophytou are suspected of harbouring and assisting the escape of Burelli. The others are believed to have brought the gunmen to the island, supplied the weapons used for the hit, and planned and facilitated his escape.