SHARE
COPY LINK

ROBBERY

Gang of six held over violent jewellery heist

The six people held over a violent jewellery store robbery in Södertälje were childhood friends who dreamed of a life of luxury, media report.

Gang of six held over violent jewellery heist

One man in hospital with life-threatening gunshot wounds, five suspects detained and an unrecovered booty.

That was the outcome late Saturday of the large-scale police operation launched in response to a dramatic jewellery store robbery in a shopping mall in Södertälje, one hour south of Stockholm.

Swedish media report that the six suspects – five men and one woman – were part of a group of friends who all grew up in a suburb south of Stockholm. Some went to the same school and youth centre.

Click here more images from the scene

They have a history of criminal activity and some are school dropouts, according to newspaper Expressen’s sources.

Friends and neighbours of the suspects told Expressen that at least three were errand-boys for older guys in the neighbourhood who are involved in crime.

They reportedly dreamed of a life of luxury and have cited Scarface and Swedish crime thriller Easy Money (Snabba cash) as their favourite movies.

At least four of the five male suspects, who are between 19 and 26 years old, have a criminal record.

The 21-year-old woman, who is the older sister of the youngest suspect, does not have a criminal record. She is being held on suspicion of assisting a violent robbery.

The oldest culprit, the 26-year-old man, is in critical condition after police shot him in the head when he and his accomplices tried to escape from the scene in a silver-coloured Audi.

The other robbers got away and drove over the 26-year-old who was dragged along the street a few metres.

When a call about the robbery came in at around 11.45am on Friday, civilian police officers rushed out of the police station near the shopping mall.

They engaged in a shoot-out with the armed robbers who wore masks and identical clothes.

The suspects had not been under surveillance and police had not received any tip-offs about the heist.

“It was pure coincidence that we were able to get to the location as quickly as we did,” Lars Byström, a spokesman for the Stockholm police, told news agency TT.

After police had identified the injured robber, they could round up the other five suspects quickly as they knew which circle of people to prioritize in the chase.

TT/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

MAFIA

Timeline of the Swedish mafia murders

A turf war over gambling in Södertälje fomented gang rivalry, a drive-by shooting, one murder, plus a double homicide of two brothers - one a local football star. As Bernard Khouri is jailed for life, The Local draws up a timeline of the Swedish mafia war that terrorized the town of Södertälje.

Timeline of the Swedish mafia murders

The gangs: The Södertälje Network and the X-Team, an off-shoot of Bandidos.

The leaders: Bernard Khouri, 32, and Dany Moussa, 34.

Khouri – the kingpin, nicknamed The Godfather by some Swedish media, was born in Lebanon in 1980, lost his father in the civil war, and moved to Sweden with his mother and maternal grandparents when he was five years old. He came into contact with social services repeatedly during his upbringing, left school without grades, and was diagnosed in 2005 with anti-social personality disorder, and classified as a psychopath.

The prosecution said: The "Södertälje Network" organized primarily young men of Assyrian origin (from Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria) in planned crime.

The defence said: There was no "Network", just a group of friends whose "culture included criminal elements".

A gang or just friends?: Did not identify any gang emblem, but said police wire-taps and bugs revealed leaders issuing orders to associates to carry out crime. The name of Bernard Khouri – or his nicknames Berno, Altaville, The Tall One, and Sabée – was used to intimidate people the network came into contact with.

The district court ruled: There was enough evidence to show that Khouri and his associates organized a criminal network. All 18 defendants were found guilty on Thursday.

But what happened?

2009

Khouri has assembled around him a group of friends and associates to control gambling machines in Södertälje – a business that put "significant amounts of money into flow" according to the verdict's assessment.

Dany Moussa, however, moves into the Network's territory by setting up the X-Team, an off-shoot of known criminal gang Bandidos.

Dany and his friend Mohaned Ali had on occasion both worn X-Team shirts at the leisure centre Oasen, which Dany's older brother Yacooub, as manager of the community hall, objected to, according to testimony.

December 23rd, 2009

A man with a partially concealed face stormed into the leisure centre Oasen (The Oasis), in the Ronna neighbourhood of Södertälje. He shot the X-Team affiliated and gambling-addicted Mohaned Ali, 23, with three bullets.

A witness told police that Dany Moussa, who was present, screamed that the shooter was Khouri's cousin Bibo. Dany later denied having uttered any such claim.

Ali bled to death a few hours later at the Karolinska hospital in Stockholm.

One witness who had contacted police later retracted his statements, after expressing much reticence to testify in court due to fears of reprisals. He later claimed he had been misinterpreted because he did not speak Swedish well. The police has maintained that the Swedish of the witness was excellent.

April 1st, 2010

Yacooub Moussa, older brother of X-Team leader Dany Moussa, placed a call to one of Khouri's team to say that if anything happens to his brother Dany, "it will be personal".

Later that night, Khouri's gang were driving when a Volkswagen car pulled up alongside their Volvo and the passengers inside started shooting. Two men were injured – one, a close friend to Khouri, suffering injuries that has left him paralyzed from the chest down since.

July 1st, 2010

Two months later, two men armed with one gun and one automatic rifle, a Yugoslavian-made Kalashnikov, stormed through a back door into Oasen and shot Eddie and Jacoub Moussa. A third man was hit by ricocheting bullets.

Forensics found that Yaacoub was shot 14 times, Eddie 17 times.

The perpetrators fled on stolen mopeds, later found incinerated close to the scene of the crime alongside two phones believed to have been used to co-ordinate the attack. The saleswoman of the two mobile phones, later questioned by the police, said that a very young boy had bought them from her in the store. One of the defendants specifically asked that the saleswoman testify.

A witness who gave detailed descriptions of the attackers later denied having made any observations during the double murder. Her subsequent attitude was described as "arrogant" by the police.

Another witness said that the victim's brother Dany said later that same evening that he was going to "burn Södertälje to the ground and kill everyone" – but said he didn't know what the statement was in reference to.

October 26th, 2010

Two X-team members are found guilty of attempted murder for shooting at Khouri's car and injuring two Network members in April of the same year.

December 2010

A wire-tap revealed Khouri asking a Network member to use Western Union to transfer 1.5 million kronor ($230,000) to him in Lebanon, where he needed 100,000 kronor to buy a wedding dress for his bride-to-be.

The first trial: A five-hour testimony by Dany Moussa – the X-Team leader who lost his friend Mohaned Ali and his brothers Eddie and Jacoub – simply had Dany stating that he had no comments.

In the final verdict, the district court underlined that many witnesses had shown great reticence in coming forward and testifying – "it is therefore evident that many witness have felt fear".

2010

Police decide to put an end to the increasingly brazen gang turf war in Södertälje, and assemble a team of between 60 to 80 people – "the best cops available", according to the officer in charge – and set about tying police work in with other state agencies' work.

2011

The police arrest Khouri, who is still living with his mother.

August 29th, 2013

Khouri is sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit three murders, along with other crimes.

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here

SHOW COMMENTS