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Police arrest foreigners suspected of Prague jewellery robberies

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Prague, Dec 12 (CTK) – Suspected perpetrators of three armed robberies of luxury stores in the centre of Prague, from which they took away jewels worth 34 million crowns, have been caught, Prague police officers told a press conference on Monday.

They said the suspects, who are members of two international gangs, face up to 15 years in prison.

The first robbery targeted a Bvlgari jewellery shop in December 2012. Three robbers, all speaking Serbian, stole watches, bracelets, necklaces and earrings worth 17 million crowns.

Two of them have been arrested in Munich and the third one is wanted internationally.

The robbery was organised by the Pink Panthers, an international gang mainly comprised of people from the former Yugoslav states.

The gang has about 800 members. Supervised from Serbia, it organises robberies of luxury stores across Europe, Jiri Zabrodsky, head of the Prague police robbery department, said.

The two other cases are to blame on Vyborg, another gang of jewellery thieves, which is mainly comprised of citizens of former Soviet Union countries and which has been supervised from Russia and Finland.

This gang robbed an Audemars Piguet jewellery store in Prague in 2014 and the Hublot luxurious watch store earlier this year, the police said.

The two robberies caused damage worth 16.5 million crowns. The ten perpetrators included Russians, Latvians and Estonians. Some of them are in Czech prisons now, while others have been arrested in Switzerland or Estonia.

Some are hiding in Russia, which does not extradite its citizens for prosecution abroad, the police said.

The perpetrators have been selling the stolen goods for a fraction of their value.

“We have information about [the goods] ending up in Japan and south Asia. They are luxurious items that can be detected. Most of them have a serial number, and therefore they are being searched for,” Zabrodsky said.

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