Fake bomb hold-up lands man in the dock

A thief who used a knife and a fake bomb to hold up five different commercial premises, including two hotels has been remanded in custody

It is understood that Camilleri would pull out a knife and use it to demand money from his victims, before placing a heavy cardboard box containing a “bomb” on the counter and telling them that he would detonate it if they called the police after he left
It is understood that Camilleri would pull out a knife and use it to demand money from his victims, before placing a heavy cardboard box containing a “bomb” on the counter and telling them that he would detonate it if they called the police after he left

A thief who used a knife and a fake bomb to hold up five different commercial premises, including two hotels – which had to be evacuated – has been remanded in custody this afternoon.

Allister Camilleri, 39, from Marsa, who appeared in court before magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo on Monday with a large swastika and the phrase “Heil Hitler” tattooed on his neck, pleaded not guilty to 27 charges which included theft aggravated by violence, means and value.

It is understood that Camilleri would pull out a knife and use it to demand money from his victims, before placing a heavy cardboard box containing a “bomb” on the counter and telling them that he would detonate it if they called the police after he left.

The box would, in fact, contain an inert weight, police said, but this could only be ascertained after evacuating residents and customers and then carrying out controlled explosions.

The “bombs” were all traced back to Camilleri, who was caught despite being extremely careful as to where he obtained them from, a source involved in the investigation said.

Besides the aggravated theft charges, Camilleri was also charged with illegal arrest, carrying a knife during the commission of the offence, driving a car with stolen number plates, stealing the numberplates and failing to observe his bail conditions. He was further accused of recidivism.

Before the brief sitting today, Camilleri unsuccessfully tried to get the police to order the press out of the courtroom and was abusive towards the small group of reporters who were covering his arraignment.

Lawyer Benjamin Valenzia, appointed by the court as legal aid to the accused did not request bail.

Inspectors Fabian Fleri, Lydon Zammit, Kylie Borg and Colin Sheldon. 

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