Four men jailed after committing violent thefts on elderly people

Four men have been collectively jailed 13 years after harming several elderly people in a grab and run theft spree in Pietà two years ago

Four men have been jailed over a series of snatch and run robberies on elderly people in Pietà that left some of the victims injured.
The theft spree took place on 20 September 2020 when unsuspecting elderly people were mugged in the street, leaving some of them with injuries that required treatment in hospital or the Floriana health centre.

Magistrate Gabriella Vella jailed William Kelly Harrison, 29, from Valletta, for four years and four months; Priviledge Mupimhidzi, 35, from Zimbabwe, for four-and-a-half years; Ahmed Ali Salah Lawan, 30, from Libya and resident in Żurrieq, for two years and eight months; and Deko Susanto, 32, from Indonesia for 18 months.

The magistrate imposed a three-year treatment order on three of the accused who have a drug problem.

Inspector Lydon Zammit testified that police officers from the Rapid Intervention Unit on patrol in Hamrun were informed that they were needed in the environs of Sa Maison after a 68-year-old man was mugged.

The man told police he was attacked by a gang of thieves, who first stopped him to ask for a cigarette. Just as they were dealing with this case, investigators found out this was not an isolated case.

Mupimhidzi, Harrison and Susanto were charged with the violent attack on the 68-year-old, while Mupimhidzi was separately charged with causing the victim grievous injuries.

Another victim was mugged near Portes des Bombes. He was also punched in the face. The accused stole €85, two mobile phones and a wallet with his ID Card, Tal-Linja card and the bank card.

Another victim was assaulted near the wooded area in Sa Maison. The same modus operandi was used by the accused who approached the victim asking for a cigarette. The man was surrounded and when he tried to escape the accused grabbed his bag and dropped him to the ground. He was threatened with his life.

The victim eventually approached a police car that was in the area and realised that officers had already arrested two of his aggressors, whom he identified.

Other victims included an elderly man who was mugged in the vicinity of the Msida church and a man who was hit by a stone while on the bus stop at Portes des Bombes.

When deciding on punishment, the court took into consideration the nature of the crimes, the fact that some of the stolen goods were returned, the difficult social background of the accused, the admission of guilt and the need for them to receive psychological help to overcome past traumas.

Inspectors Lydon Zammit and Mario Xiberras prosecuted.