The Malta Independent 27 May 2024, Monday
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Updated: Three Romanians charged as police breaks up pickpocketing ring

Wednesday, 22 September 2021, 11:00 Last update: about 4 years ago

Three Romanian men have been charged with organised crime and money laundering, as police said that they had broken up an international pickpocketing ring.

In a statement on Monday, police said that three Romanian men – Teodor Dumitrescu, 54, a driver, Vasilica-Lionel Harabagiu, 39, a hairdresser and Marian Tenescu, 40, a fitter – had been arrested in St. Julian’s by police on suspicion of being part of an international pickpocketing ring.


None of the accused have a place of residence in Malta, and all three pleaded not guilty before duty magistrate Charmaine Galea through their lawyer Lennox Vella.

The men had already been jailed for pickpocketing in 2018 in Malta.

Inspectors Shawn Pawney, Tomjoe Farrugia and Jonathan Ransley prosecuted.

Inspector Ransley said that several reports of pickpocketing had been received. They were identified and followed by the police and they had prior convictions. “The first thing they did was steal from the airport.”

Police said in a statement that the concept of ‘intelligence-led policing’ had allowed them to be proactive in catching these types of crimes.

Investigations involving a number of different sections of the police had found that the men had allegedly carried out thefts in a few days during the summer months before immediately leaving the country.

Collaboration with Europol and Interpol along with other countries resulted in information that these thefts had been ongoing since 2010 in multiple touristic destinations across Europe.

Intelligence obtained by the police showed that the men were going to be in Malta as from last Monday afternoon onboard a flight from Budapest, Hungary.

The men were seen getting onto a bus from the airport, and were subsequently arrested at a hotel in St. Julian’s.


A freezing order was issued over the men’s assets and they were all remanded in custody.

Photo: CMRU
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