Four men, 16-year-old girl charged with theft of her father’s Porsche Cayenne SUV

A stolen Porsche was allegedly sold in a part exchange for drugs

Porsche Cayenne SUV
Porsche Cayenne SUV

Four men and a 16-year-old girl are facing charges in connection with the theft of a Porsche Cayenne SUV belonging to the girl’s father and other crimes.

The minor was first to be arraigned before magistrate Claire Stafrace Zammit on Thursday.

Police Inspectors Lydon Zammit and Stephen Gulia, assisted by lawyers Alessia Schembri and Brendan Hewer from the Office of the Attorney General, charged the girl with theft, aggravated by value and place and defrauding her father.

Defence lawyers Jose Herrera and Martina Herrera informed the court that the girl would be filing a guilty plea, requested that she be placed under a temporary supervision order until a pre-sentencing report could be drawn up. The parties had agreed that the defendant’s father would provide her with alternative accommodation for her to stay until the pre-sentencing report is complete.

As the defendant was less than 17-years-old, the court observed that the competent court to decide her case was the Juvenile court and ordered the acts of the case be sent there for sentencing.

Herrera requested bail in the interim period, which met no objection from the prosecution or the victim's lawyers, Alfred Abela and Rene Darmanin.

The court upheld the bail request and released the girl from arrest against a €10,000 personal guarantee, also ordering the girl not to contact or approach any of the victims, with the exception of her father and to sign a bail book at regular intervals.

The court imposed a ban on the publication of her name and that of the victim.

Four men also charged with offences linked to the theft

Four young men are also facing charges in connection with the stolen luxury car.

In a separate arraignment on Thursday, Luis Maxim Kunzel 24, an unemployed German national residing in Marsaskala, self-employed businessman Luke Vella, 28, from Zabbar, as well as 19-year-old Dillon Gatt and 23-year-old Syrian national Mohamed Mohamed Ali, the latter two both unemployed and with no fixed address, were charged with handling stolen goods and the theft of cash which was aggravated by violence, means and by detaining people against their will.

They were also accused of stealing a number plate during the night of April 17, stealing the Porsche Cayenne from Mellieha and a credit card from inside it, and defrauding the owner out of over €5,000.

More charges, relating to attempted hold ups at a jeweller in Santa Venera and a pharmacy in Qormi on April 21, as well as another attempted hold up at an electronics shop in Birkirkara the following day, were also issued. The group are also accused of conspiracy to rob the jewellery shop.

Kunzel, Gatt, Ali and Vella were jointly accused of criminal conspiracy - having allegedly planned to burglarise the Porsche owner’s home.

Kunzel alone is facing additional charges of stealing number plates from cars parked in Zabbar on 22 and 23 April, while Vella alone is also accused of trying to sell the stolen Porsche, trafficking cannabis and breaching three sets of bail conditions.

Ali is also charged with trafficking and possession of cannabis in circumstances which indicated an intention to sell.

Kunzel and Gatt are also charged with carrying a knife in public without police permission, with Gatt also accused of breaching the conditions of a suspended sentence he had received in May 2023.

Inspector Lydon Zammit explained that the road leading up to the arrests had started with the violent robbery of a bakery in Marsaskala on Friday, April 19. Two armed robbers and an accomplice pretending to be a customer had been involved, he said.

The suspects had arrived and fled in a Mazda Demio using number plates which had been reported stolen from Marsa the day before, explained the inspector.

A number of other thefts were reported during the night between Saturday and Sunday, he said, amongst them the theft of the Porsche from Attard, an attempted robbery at a jewellery store in Santa Venera and another attempted theft at a pharmacy in Qormi.

The Mazda Demio was involved in every one, Zammit told the court.

The next day, the police received a report of another attempted theft in Birkirkara involving the same car and similar descriptions of the perpetrators.

Staff at the jewellery shop told the police that a few hours after the theft, they had seen three suspicious-looking youths hovering around the area.

In the meantime, information had started to come in about the theft of the Porsche. Louis Maxim Kunzel was first to be identified, after using the stolen credit cards. Gatt, who had been accompanying him, was identified next. Ali was identified because he hadn’t covered his face.

The stolen Porsche had been sold in a part exchange for drugs. It was found in Luke Vella’s garage, said the inspector.

When questioned after being arrested the men had given the police information not only about their involvement in the crimes, but had also indicated third parties who were involved.

When asked to enter a plea, the defendants admitted the charges, with the exception of Gatt who pleaded not guilty

A bail request for the remaining three was met with objections from the prosecution, who argued that the charges, which included drug trafficking, were serious and that some of the defendants were already out on several sets of bail conditions.

They were not trustworthy, argued the prosecution, and besides that, there were eyewitnesses who had yet to testify

Lawyer Marion Camilleri, assisting Vella, argued that the charges against her client were related to handling stolen goods and cannabis. The bail breaches alleged were “charges like any other,” yet to be proven, said the lawyer.

She also took issue with the trend of the risk of witnesses being suborned being raised “in every blessed case,” arguing that this risk had to be substantiated.

“This happened just now,” replied Inspector Zammit, telling the court that while he was in the police lockup Vella had tried to communicate with a witness.

The court ruled that there was a serious risk of evidence being tampered with if bail were to be granted and denied the request.

Lawyer Victor Bugeja suggested that the folly of youth was behind Ali’s crimes, while Gatt’s lawyer, Yanika Barbara Sant, argued that difficult social circumstances, including homelessness and drug abuse were big factors in his offending.

Lawyer Thomas Barbara Sant, assisting Kunzel, asked that his client be given help for mental health and drug problems, suggesting a custodial sentence of minimum duration.

The court adjourned the case for sentencing at a later date.