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Shopping centre blaze was 'gang initiation'

TT/Rebecca Martin · 13 Dec 2011, 14:06

Published: 13 Dec 2011 14:06 GMT+01:00

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If found guilty they may be forced to pay damages of 33 million kronor ($4.8 million).

”It wasn't so much a criminal network as a local gang of guys,” said prosecutor Johan Henningsson.

Ten teenagers, all between the ages of 15 and 18, have been charged in connection with a fire that gutted the Berga Centrum shopping mall near Kalmar on October 12th.

Four of the teens face charges of aggravated arson and the remaining six of instigating aggravated arson.

According to Ulf Einarsson of the local police, tips from the public led investigators to the four suspects.

"We've received many tips, and their names occurred repeatedly among the names mentioned," he said to news agency TT at the time of the teens' arrest.

The four boys all live in Kalmar, but are not from the Berga neighbourhood.

The four main suspects had had previous contact with the police, Einarsson told local newspaper Barometern.

It is these four who initially told police about the “test”.

They claim that they had to start a fire to gain acceptance of the other group of teenagers, known as the “Berga centre gang”.

The six other teens deny all allegations, however.

But according to the prosecutor, the instigators had showed the four a dumpster at the back of the centre, and told them to set that alight.

Story continues below…

The fire later spread along the wall and the entire building burnt down.

The ensuing blaze left the shopping centre largely in ruins. Although no people were injured in the fire, the shopping centre could not be saved, despite work to extinguish the fire that went on through the night.

16 companies are plaintiffs in the case with claims against the perpetrators that amount to 33 million kronor.

TT/Rebecca Martin (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:38 December 13, 2011 by Dazzler
What happened to streaking butt assed naked through a crowded town centre or perhaps stealing a car for a joyride? No imagination these days.
16:48 December 13, 2011 by spo10
Good luck with the 33 million kronor debt young men.
17:00 December 13, 2011 by Kaethar
Yep, well done. Some people truly have no sense...
18:36 December 13, 2011 by Abe L
"They may be forced to pay damages"

Seriously? When will Sweden ever join the list of countries with common sense. If you put a shopping centre on fire, the least you can do is spend the rest of your life paying for the damage caused.
23:04 December 13, 2011 by blursd
Nice to see the situation is Southern Sweden is improving :s
10:45 December 14, 2011 by Turko
gang? bunch of kids from kosovo + one arabic teen whom have no future in Sweden. Suspects are following:

15-year old Meriton Kozhani,

18-year old Brahimi Besfort,

15-year old Djambulat Miserbiev

17-year old Mergim Pllana,

15-year old Hashem Karar Fadel.

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