A gang of cat burglars accused of scaling buildings to steal hundreds of thousands in jewelry, trend objects and different valuables from the wealthy and well-known, together with Paris Saint-Germain soccer star Thiago Silva, went on trial within the French capital on Wednesday.
The group of seven males and one girl is believed to have burgled not simply prime gamers from the PSG crew, but in addition music and TV personalities.
Silva — the PSG captain on the time however who now performs for Chelsea — returned dwelling after a primary division match on December 23, 2018 to seek out his secure, jewelry and watches value a mixed 1.2 million euros ($1.4 million) have been gone.
Surveillance digital camera footage confirmed two males climbing up a drainpipe and coming into Silva’s mansion by a French window. Minutes later, they reappeared carrying their loot in a backpack and a suitcase they took from the home.
Lower than a month earlier one other PSG participant, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, was burgled of 600,000 euros value of leather-based items and jewelry whereas he was on the pitch enjoying a Champions League match — a theft prosecutors say among the defendants carried out.
The investigation first led police to 2 potential suspects, after which a 3rd. Due to telephone faucets and tails on the three, police recognized a gaggle of seven males of their 20s based mostly in a Paris neighbourhood generally known as the Goutte d’Or (Drop of Gold), and the 2 autos they used.
After arresting them in August 2019, police got here to imagine that the gang had additionally carried out a housebreaking a yr earlier on the dwelling of French rapper Elie Yaffa, higher generally known as Booba.
Working in items of two, three or 4, they’re additionally suspected of stealing from the houses of TV host Patrick Sebastien, movie star chef Jean-Pierre Vigato and an unnamed rich Saudi nationwide, taking a mixed 4.2 million euros value of products.
In the meantime, police seized bracelets, rings, watches and baggage within the flat of a younger girl in Aubervilliers, a northeastern suburb of the capital, with some objects recognized by their rightful homeowners.
The detectives additionally discovered weapons, bulletproof vests a hydraulic jack and a crowbar within the condominium.
At first the suspects denied every part. However over the previous yr, investigators made inroads on the gang, with members admitting to among the accusations, or claiming that they have been solely on lookout whereas others carried out the thefts.
Some have additionally claimed that the estimates of their haul have been exaggerated on condition that among the stolen items turned out to be fakes.
– ‘Cat’ and the ‘Child’ –
Prosecutors say they’ve recognized the 2 masterminds of the heists, which all concerned breaking in by home windows whereas the occupants have been away.
One is Mohamed S., who due to his climbing prowess is called both “Jet Li” after the martial arts movie actor, or as “The Cat” — a nickname he rejects.
The opposite is Abdelazim G., who goes by the nickname “Bidou” — or “Child”.
The seven males, now aged between 27 and 31 and with lengthy rap sheets, are charged with theft and membership of a legal organisation.
The tenant of the Aubervilliers condominium is charged with receiving stolen items and unlawful possession of arms in addition to membership of a legal organisation. She has denied all accusations.
Police discovered lists of names and addresses of celebrities at her dwelling, however have been unable to determine any inside accomplices or to learn the way the stolen objects have been offered.
The suspects’ legal professionals didn’t return AFP’s calls, or stated they’d not remark forward of the trial.
In the meantime, Paris Saint-Germain stars have continued to be focused in burglaries.
This yr, Spanish PSG participant Sergio Rico and Argentinians Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria have been burgled, as was the household of their Brazilian teammate Marquinhos.