Betting shop hold up: Thieves plead guilty; cite coronavirus financial hardship


Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Two men who were arraigned over a robbery outside a betting shop in Birkirkara have pleaded guilty to charges of criminal conspiracy, aggravated theft and tampering with evidence on Saturday morning.

Michael Borg, 42, from Gzira and Lian Arena, 32, from Attard were both arrested on Friday, after Arena had called the police to report that he had been robbed at knife-point.

Arena who was the manager of Izibet had told the police that a man on a motorcycle had robbed him of the shop’s money while he was placing it inside his car.

The police analysed CCTV footage which led them to the conclusion that the shop employee was in cahoot with the alleged thief.

Police Inspectors Fabian Fleri, Mario Xiberras and Lydon Zammit who were prosecuting, told the court that both men had cooperated with the police investigation and had confessed.

The defence team told the court that both men had suffered severe financial hardships following the coronavirus outbreak.

The two men were given a two-year prison sentence suspended for four years and ordered to refund €2,000 each. Most of the money had been retrieved and returned.

Lawyers Franco Debono and Francesca Zarb appeared on behalf of Borg. Lawyers Joe Giglio and Sarah Mifsud appeared for Arena.

Magistrate Doreen Clarke presided over the court.

Employee stages hold up at Birkirkara betting shop

A 32-year-old man of Attard who is an employee of a betting shop, will be arraigned on Saturday morning along with a 42-year-old man of Gzira over an alleged robbery outside a the same shop in Birkirkara.

The police said that two individuals have been arrested over an alleged hold up which took place on Wednesday morning after investigating CCTV footage.

The employee told the police on Wednesday morning that he had just left the shop with a bag full of cash and as he was putting it in his car a motorbike stopped near him. The motorcyclist allegedly threatened him with a knife as he stole the bag and escaped.

Officers from the Violent Crimes Squad within the Criminal Investigations Department analysed security footage and identified the suspects.

Their investigations showed that the employee was in cahoots with the motorcyclist.

The two were subsequently arrested. The police have searched their residences and several garages where the motorcycle used in the theft and most of the money stolen on Wednesday morning were found.

They will be arraigned before Magistrate Doreen Clarke on Saturday morning.