Armenia’s police have announced the arrest of more than a dozen members of an alleged gang suspected of committing high-profile robberies in Yerevan earlier this year.
At least four of the 16 detained people are said to have been taken into custody after being charged with banditry. Three of them are said to have criminal records.
Yerevan Police Chief Nerses Nazarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Monday that they possess ample proof that the suspects they are dealing with were involved in a series of robberies targeting former and current officials.
The armed attacks reported by the police targeted the homes of five wealthy government-linked individuals, including a former parliament deputy and a former mayor of Yerevan’s Malatia-Sebastia district. They reportedly followed the same pattern, with masked men breaking into the mansions early in the morning, beating up their owners and stealing cash and other valuables.
The chief of the Armenian police, Lieutenant-General Alik Sargsian pledged last month “to do everything to quickly solve those crimes.”
One man died and several others were detained in Yerevan on Friday as police conducted an operation to apprehend several members of the alleged gang.
The chief of Yerevan’s police stopped short of confirming the media reports that a list of potential victims, including affluent businessmen and senior officials, was found during a search at the suspected robbers’ homes. He only said that lots of potential crimes have been prevented as a result of the recent police action.
Neither the police nor prosecutors have yet confirmed the media reports that sons of some officials are among the suspects.