Updated | Organised crime 'not excluded' as man charged over €20,000 spate of burglaries

Man charged in court in connection with various thefts from private residences across Malta

The police have arrested a man suspected of being behind a string of burglaries (Stock photo)
The police have arrested a man suspected of being behind a string of burglaries (Stock photo)

Police told a court that they are not excluding links to organised crime as man from Georgia was remanded in custody after being accused of stealing cash, jewellery and other items worth at least €20,000.

Avtandil Rusia, 37, was arraigned before magistrate Victor Axiaq on Saturday by Inspectors Mario Xiberras, Shawn Pawney and Leeroy Balzan Engerer, charged with aggravated theft from a number of private residences in Rabat, Attard, Swieqi, San Gwann, Żebbug and Qormi.

The alleged crimes, in which cash, jewellery, perfume and whiskey were stolen, took place between 17 and 29 October.

Rusia, who works as a driver and who has no fixed address, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Inspector Mario Xiberras said that police had identified the accused from CCTV footage and confidential information.

Bail was refused, with the case continuing on 25 November.

Rusia was arrested yesterday after days of surveillance by the police’s criminal investigations department, with the aid of district police.

A search of the man's car and the apartment he was staying at led to the discovery of objects which had been reported as stolen by residents.

In a statement prior to the arraignment, the police said that the case shouldn’t be seen in isolation, but was part of an investigation which has been ongoing for months.

Efforts to break organise crime rings are being stepped up, the police added.