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Greek Cops Bust Robbery Gang Targeting Tourists

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/vasilis Papadopoulos)

ATHENS - Already a haven for pickpockets targeting tourists and metro riders especially, Greece’s capital has also seen gangs mugging and robbing people in popular areas, with police saying they broke a ring of 22 people, all from North African countries or Pakistan.

Another 13 are being sought after a spate of attacks, mostly in popular tourist spots, including around the Acropolis, with police reporting they had recovered hundreds of Breaking with privacy laws, following a prosecutor’s approval, police released names, multiple aliases and photographs of the suspects, some of whom listed two or more countries as their residences.

Authorities said the alleged criminal ring was active for at least six months, with different roles assigned to each alleged perpetrator, as one group acted as “fences” for the stolen goods, reported Kathimerini.

In August, police broke up a gang of teens behind a series of store robberies and thefts from cars and also used knives and physical abuse to mug other teens, primarily in the central district of Monastiraki, a haven for tourists as well.

The gang was linked to four muggings, two store robberies and three incidents of theft from cars and accused of stealing a motorcycle.

The same month, Greek police began patrolling tourism sites in teams of five in special police vans and said they would go after pickpockets in the capital’s 47 metro stations who had specialized in robbing tourists riding in crowded cars, operating in gangs.

Some 130 police officers would patrol – in black uniforms rather than the usual blue – all of the station’s platforms, police said and with the city’s central stations – Omonia, Syntagma, Attica and Monastiraki – having more than more police officer.

Stations with less passenger traffic will be overseen by policemen of the DIAS motorcycle-riding squad and the Immediate Action Unit but it wasn’t reported how effective they had been or not.