6/15/10 – Four youths from Berlin’s Turkish and Arab neighbourhoods pleaded guilty to robbery and assault charges in a German juvenile court on Monday.
The charges arise from a widely publicised violent robbery at a major Berlin hotel during a live poker tournament.
However, the quartet’s pleas did not give any indication of the present whereabouts of the Euro 240 000 stolen in the robbery, Deutsche Press reports.
Two older men allegedly directed the March 6 heist, and have been indicted to face trial later.
The four robbers in court Monday are aged 19 to 21, with three of them claiming they had not really intended to become robbers.
Evidence was led that the four, masked and armed with axes and a starter's pistol, stormed and tried to grab a large amount of cash amassed for the winners of a major poker tourney. The attempt was largely foiled as unarmed security guards reacted, causing the robbers to drop much of the money as they escaped, stuffing cash into their trouser pockets and a carry-all.
Deutsche Presse reports that the plan had been to snatch the takings at the end of the day when guards carried the money to a casino in the complex. But their alleged leader, a 31-year-old who was playing at the poker tables, changed the plan and directed them to strike sooner in a cellphone call.
The court was told that one of the accused’s uncle had briefed them on what to do, and drove the getaway car to an underground parking garage, where he divvied up the spoils, giving each Euro 40 000.
Police said only Euros 4,000 had been recovered in subsequent investigations.