A suspected serial thief allegedly linked to a string of thefts some of which dated back to 2018 was denied bail upon his arraignment. 

Police investigating the thefts, from private residences, tracked down Giorgi Kheladze, a 32-year-old Georgian national living at Mosta, who was allegedly involved in a criminal organisation behind a number of robberies.

Two fellow nationals, also allegedly involved in the organisation, had been arrested and arraigned and were currently facing criminal proceedings.

Working on CCTV footage from the various crime scenes and other evidence, including DNA traces from the 2018 thefts, police closed in on the third suspect. 

The man was charged in relation to six separate cases of aggravated theft from private residences at Santa Venera, St Julian’s, Mosta, Attard and Żebbuġ. 

He was also charged in relation to an attempted theft at Għargħur. 

The first theft occurred in June 2018, followed by another in November that year.

The other thefts took place in January and February 2022. 

The accused was further charged with involvement in a criminal conspiracy, promoting the criminal organisation as well as knowingly receiving stolen property and breaching bail conditions. 

He pleaded not guilty.

A request for bail was objected to by the prosecution. 

After hearing submissions by both parties, the court, presided over by magistrate Lara Lanfranco, turned down the request in view of the repetitive nature of the charges and the premature stage of the proceedings. 

However, the court directed the prosecution to produce any civilian witnesses at the earliest hearing so that bail could be reconsidered. 

Inspectors Joseph Mercieca and Christina Delia prosecuted. Lawyer Roberto Montalto was defence counsel. 

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