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Poker News | World Poker News

EPT Berlin Robbery Suspect in Custody, Other Names Released

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After several weeks of speculation and lack of news regarding the armed robbery at the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour in Berlin, Germany, action has been announced as suspects are named and more than one is already in custody.

The March 6th heist took place at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Berlin, where the EPT Berlin Main Event was in the midst of its fourth day of action while side events took place elsewhere in the ballroom. According to updated police reports, four armed robbers in ski masks entered the hotel lobby with handguns and machetes and demanded money. There was cash on hand from tournament buy-ins, some of which was handed over to the thieves as unarmed guards were unable to stop the crime in progress. No one was hurt except for those running from the tournament room to find safety, as they were unsure of the motive of the robbers at the time. The robbers escaped.

A little over a week later, the Associated Press reported that a man was arrested in the case, but due to a lack of evidence, he was soon released. Several hours of questioning led to the belief that though the Arabic man was thought to have been involved in a casino robbery approximately six years ago, there were no ties to the EPT Berlin case, and with no evidence in either case to hold the suspect, he was set free.

Five days later, without provocation, a 21-year old man turned himself in to the German police. With his lawyer at his side, the man, who has yet to be named, entered the police station to surrender for the crime. While it was reported that he gave no information as to names of other suspects or the location of the money, the man was later said to have given enough details to lead the police to confidently release the names and photos of three suspects on the lam. The three were 20-year old Ahmad el-Awayti, 20-year old Mustafa Ucarkus of Turkey, and 19-year old Jihad Chetwie of Germany.

Arrest warrants were issued for the men, who all reportedly lived in Berlin but were not found at their official addresses, and all were said to have connections with previous crimes, such as robbery. Ultimately, el-Awayti was located at a Berlin subway station and arrested on March 17, according to the Associated Press, and he did not resist, even acknowledging that he was the man being sought by police.

More information has also been released about the crime itself, as the full amount stolen was $328,000, or 240,000 Euros. According to the first suspect who turned himself in and relayed by prosecutor Frank Heller, “The money was divided up immediately after the crime.” In addition, the robbers used a Mercedes as the getaway car, and the auto was located and confiscated by the police. Heller also said that the robbers scouted the venue before the crime and knew where the money was located, how it was kept, and that there were no armed guards. “And when he saw that the guards didn’t have guns,” Heller told the Associated Press, “they decided that they had a chance.”

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