March 18, 2010

Berlin police arrest half the EPT poker robber gang

Berlin Police are closing in on the gang of men responsible for robbing the European Poker Tournament Berlin, after one of the men handed himself in on Monday and then proceeded to name his fellow accomplices in the heist.

The robbery took place on March 6th at the Grand Hyatt and the men were able to make off with 242,000 euros in cash but had to leave behind a bag containing 600,000 euros after a fight back by security guards.

On 15th March, a 21-year-old German of “an immigrant background” walked into the police station alongside his lawyer, and named his fellow conspirators, as well as offered up his share of the stolen money.

Following his co-operation, the German authorities have released the names and photos of three more men suspected of involvement in the heist, who are also wanted by German police in connection with a number of other crimes , including robbery and assault. The men are of Turkish and Arabic origins and have been named as Ahmad el-Awayti, 20, Jihad Chetwie, 19, and Mustafa Ucarkus, 20.

El-Awayti has since been arrested at a central Berlin subway station, while the other men have had their addresses searched, but are assumed still on the run.

One of the men’s lawyers Mr Sjors Kamstra, commenting on the situation said: “In my opinion, the robbery on the poker championship in the Hyatt can be considered largely solved.”
Police prosecutor Frank Heller, speaking of the gang’s opportunistic robbery added that the men had ” took a look at where the money is, how the money is secured, are there guards, are the guards armed..And when he saw that the guards didn’t have guns, they decided that they had a chance..the money was divided up immediately after the crime.”

German police are now confident that it is now just a matter of time before the remaining gang members are apprehended and the money recovered.

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