TIRANA, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Albania's state police said Saturday that after several days of man hunt across the country, the police managed to arrest the last suspect of the roughly 3.2 million U.S. dollar heist that took place in Albania's capital near Rinas airport on Feb. 9, 2016.
The person arrested Saturday, Admir Murataj, is the main suspect for organizing the heist. The four other suspects were arrested a few days ago.
The police said that they have retrieved the major part of the stolen money. Police officers found dollars, pounds, euros and Swiss francs buried underground in pressure cookers and other pots.
Five gunmen stole and left with several bags of money from two security vans in broad daylight in a quite spectacular way.
The heist took place at midday so many drivers stopped to film the heist on their mobile phones and published the footage on social media.
This incident spurred strong debates and concerns among the public on the role of the private security companies, contracted to carry out such operators, in this case the escort of bank's money.
Video footage showed thieves calmly transferring around ten large bags of cash into their vehicles, which they abandoned and burnt later on.
According to the footage, it seemed that the five security guards had failed to inform police on time as well as hadn't turned on the cameras inside their vehicles. Further on, the GPS tracking device that should have been inside the money bags were found under the driver's seat of one of the vans.
All these elements made state police suspect that the private police guards were involved in the heist. Therefore the prosecution ordered their arrest on suspicion of being collaborators of the gang.
Now, that the fifth person of suspected is under arrest it seems that the police are about to solve the puzzle and unveil the whole heist scheme.
The Albanian prosecution office declared two days ago that they had enough evidence that showed that these persons were also involved in previous heists.
According to prosecution, the heist in Qafe Kashar, near Tirana, was done in the same way as the spectacular armed robbery that took place in June 30 in the country's sole international airport, where three armed persons robbed around 3 million euro worth of cash. They broke into the airport's security takeoff area in a movie-like scenario without being noticed or stopped by anyone.
At that time, the heist sparked serious concerns for national security in Albania, since it was the first time Albania witnessed such big robbery in terms of stolen money but also in terms of the way how it was done in the middle of the day, at an area which is supposed to have high security.
Police reported that the robbers broke into the airport's security area and managed to steal an amount of money that was being transported from the airport terminal to a plane on behalf of a commercial bank in Albania.
Another private security company, escorting the money, was made responsible but no one was imprisoned for the heist.
In October 2016, another big heist took place in Albania's capital, Tirana where armed and masked thieves got away with jewelry worth half a million euros.
Even that heist attracted public attention as the thieves used a house next to the jewelry store and demolished the wall to enter the store. The police suspected that the gang who stole the jewelry were the same who stole the money at Rinas Airport.
These three big heists that have taken place in a time span of around one year have prompted actions from Albanian authorities.
Several meetings were held this week between the state police, the representatives of the second-tier banks operating in Albania and the representatives of the private security companies.
The Bank of Albania and the State Police reached a cooperation agreement under which the state police will be engaged too in the transporting of money from the banks to airport or within the country.
Meantime, the Minister of Interior Sajmir Tahiri called for more cooperation between banks and state authorities while he also stressed that all state mechanisms would be put in place to increase the wages of the private security guards which currently are quite low.
The low wage of the employees of private companies has been considered as the main reason that makes these guards an easy prey to criminal elements who hire them as informants. Enditem