Chief of Armenia’s Police Alik Sargsian has confirmed the full exposure and arrest of a gang suspected of committing daring robberies against a number of wealthy government-linked individuals recently.
At the same time, Sargsian denied media reports that some officials may have been involved in the gang or had links with it.
“These are criminals from head to toe. I don’t think they will ever get corrected. We possess full and well-established evidence. We do have certain problems with obtaining tangible proof,” Sargsian said at a press conference on Thursday, echoing concerns that no loot of the gang has yet been found yet.
This circumstance has sparked speculation that the real criminals may have still been at large, while the arrested suspects are “the wrong gang”. Sargsian, however, has sought to dispel the doubts, insisting that they possess ample evidence of the arrested people’s involvement in at least four of the episodes.
“As for the loot, see what these people have stolen – money, gold, and in the last case also paintings. Time is needed. I am convinced that the stolen money and valuables will also be found, have no doubts about that. We already can figure out how they shared the loot.”
Last Friday the Armenian police conducted an operation that resulted in the arrest of several people suspected of committing armed attacks targeting the homes of some former and current officials. The reported robberies 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.
Earlier this week police one of the arrested persons, Artush Hakobian, was the ringleader of the suspected gang. The man was charged with banditry and armed robbery on Tuesday and his brother also remains a suspect in the case.
On Wednesday, the suspect’s father, entrepreneur Surik Hakobian claimed that neither of his two sons had anything to do with the arrested gang and that his family simply was a target of those who wanted to take control of his business.
Commenting on this claim, Police Chief Sargsian called Artush Hakobian “a prominent crime figure”. “He is capable of doing a lot, unlike many other representatives of the underworld,” said the top police official.
Sargsian also stressed that in contrast to the initial theory that some former law-enforcement workers might have been operating within the gang, the facts show none of the arrested suspects have any record of work for police or other similar structures. He also categorically denied that officials or their sons have been involved in the gang.
“There aren’t even such suspicions,” he stressed.