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Poker News | World Poker News

All EPT Berlin Robbery Suspects Arrested

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It all began on March 6, 2010, when the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour was minding its own business and conducting tournaments in the Grand Hyatt ballroom in downtown Berlin, Germany. Suddenly, masked thieves, armed with machetes and guns, burst into the hotel lobby and made off with a bag of money. But after much attention and detective work by the German police, all four suspects have been arrested and the pieces of the crime puzzle are being assembled.

The four men took over the hotel lobby and terrified the staff, media, and tournament players when they entered the facility wielding weapons and demanding money. The combination of possible inside information about where the money was kept and the fact that the guards at the hotel were unarmed made for the ideal scenario for the robbers, who stole a bag of money. Not all of the money on location was stolen, but the gunmen escaped on foot to a getaway car and disappeared.

Leads came into the police, and the case was spotlighted in the international media as well as a German crime-based television show. More than a week after the crime, a suspect was taken into custody but released due to lack of evidence, though the man identified only as “Mohammed B” was said to have held a list of six names on his person, three of which were determined to be suspects in the case. But five days later, a 21-year old man walked into the police station and turned himself in. The unnamed suspect eventually named his co-conspirators, and police released photos to the public with arrest warrants issued.

Soon after, Ahmad el-Awayti, a 20-year old, was located at a Berlin subway station and immediately gave up when the police closed in, admitting to being the suspect they sought. He was taken into custody, and it wasn’t long before 20-year old Mustafa Ucarkus, a Turkish man who previously served time in prison, was arrested as well. He was met by police upon arriving in Berlin on a flight from Istanbul. And within 24 hours, the last suspect, 19-year old Jihad Chetwie, was taken into custody when he arrived on a flight from Beirut. The last two suspects traveled to Germany with the knowledge that they would be arrested, as their lawyers informed police of their intentions to surrender upon landing.

Others are still being sought for questioning, and Mohammed B has not been ruled out as a suspect, but the four primary suspects remain in custody.

Some of the information that has come to light in the past few weeks includes the fact that a Mercedes was the getaway car, and it has since been confiscated by the police. The €240,000 Euros stolen from the tournament was divided amongst the robbers, and the location of some of the money is being discussed by suspects, and the police are in the process of retrieving at least a portion of the stolen loot.

In addition, the Berliner Morgenpost reported that news is surfacing that an Arab crime family might have been behind the robbery, as two members of that organization were customers of the Grand Hyatt before the robbery and their faces were caught on security cameras. In addition, a rival crime family may have tipped off the police to the suspects and their whereabouts.

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