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The Thief of the Century Has Been Captured

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14 Iul 2004 - 00:00

EVENT - July 14 2004

Petru Nica, the main author of the biggest robbery in the modern history of Romania, has been captured last night, at seven o’clock, in a mansion in Snagov.

According to the Police the money that Nica stole from the values transport in the early morning of the 5th of July have been also recovered. The decisive operation of the men of law consisted in three simultaneous raids in Snagov, Bucharest and in the village Rosu, places in which the presence of the law breakers has been certain. Along with Nica there were captured another two accomplices.

Nica told the Court that he is very tired.

Petru Nica and his two accomplices, Gabriel Velescu and Aurelian Paven, have been arrested yesterday for 29 days, by a judge of the Bucharest Court of Law.
MIRUNA PASA, ION ALEXANDRU

The Court approved the demand of the prosecutors, considering that the three accused of being the authors of the biggest robbery in the Romanian modern history, are a public menace and besides that they absented themselves from the prosecution for one week. Their lawyers had asked for a more gentle punishment, like the interdiction of leaving Bucharest. The most important motive for this that the lawyers invoked is the fact the media transformed a simple robbery in a huge law breaking. The court took their demands as being inadmissible. Petru Nica and his accomplices were brought in front of the judge at about 14:45, with only 5 hours before the retaining ordinance would have expired. Velescu and Paven refused making any statements to the judge. In fact, Velescu is the only one of the three that didn’t admit his involvement in this robbery. Petru Nica stated that he sustains the testimony he made to the prosecutors, in which he is the author of the robbery and that he is too tired after the hearings from the previous night to start over again. They still didn’t say the location of the 40 billion lei that the Police didn’t find yet. Also present in the Courts halls, Nica’s wife, eight months’ pregnant, didn’t attack the media representatives, as she had done the previous night. She waited crying to see her husband for a few seconds.

The 33rd of July - the Day of the Rewards

Alongside the leaders of the Bucharest Court of Law Prosecutor’s Office and the ones of the Capital’s Police, the new Minister of Administration and Internal Affairs, Marian Saniuta, stated yesterday, during a press conference, that the solving of the robbery of the century "brought in front of us the professionalism of the Police colleagues, but also the weaknesses of our system. We have to admit that this is an extremely complex case". In a TV show, the owner of the CPI International Security company said that he will reward any person which helps finding the thief with 300,000 U.S. dollars. The Police captured the thieves and have recovered for now half of the money. The investigators speak about the reward ironically. For example, in one of the offices of the Capital Police, a man of law noted on the calendar the day of 33rd of July as being the date of the reward. The Minister Marian Saniuta also stated that "it is something normal for the Police to do their job; it is normal and natural that the Romanian policemen prove their professional experience; it is normal and natural for them to assure the peacefulness and the safety of the citizens".

Pursuing the Lost Money

Though the inquisitor Marian Tutilescu, the chief of the Capital Police, stated on Monday night that from the entire amount of 88.4 billion lei and 33,396 U.S. dollars there’s a small amount missing, the reality is different. The investigators found only 48.7 billion lei. None of the bags found in Snagov contained foreign currency or one million lei banknotes. It looks like beside the 12,000 U.S. dollars paid as an account for the buying of the mansion in Snagov, there are 30,000 U.S. dollars and 500 euros from the foreign currency that is still missing. According to the sources, the plausible route of the investigation regarding the finding of the other amount of money is Velescu’s mistress.

She has been heard yesterday afternoon, at the Capital Police headquarters. Until the time this edition went to print, the policemen were having a retaining ordinance for 24 hours on her name. About Velescu, Paven and Nica we can only say that they have been already arrested and could be imprisoned for 20 years the most.

Translation: SORIN BALAN

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