The gang believed to be behind the burglary of dozens of apartments in the Sliema and St Julian’s area appear to have become more daring.
Last week robbers broke into a Swieqi villa at night and locked family members asleep inside their bedrooms while they ransacked the place.
According to CCTV footage obtained by the police from nearby residences, two or three robbers were inside the house for at least 20 minutes while another waited for them outside.
The police were contacted in the morning by the family after they woke up to find themselves locked inside their bedrooms.
Last week The Sunday Times of Malta reported that dozens of residences in the Sliema and St Julian’s area had been targeted by robbers either from the same gang or using similar methods to gain entry.
The thieves, often posing as workers to fool neighbours, have been drilling through front door locks, even those considered to be among the more secure, and removing them entirely from the outside.
The majority of burglaries have been from apartments rather than houses. In all cases, the thieves stole jewellery, cash and watches. Larger items, such as televisions, gaming consoles, hi-fi systems, laptops and computers, were left untouched.
The latest incident might mean that the robbers are now undeterred by residents asleep inside.
It is good that people become more aware
Some residents appear to have become more vigilant, with sources close to the police saying there had been a spike in the number of calls reporting people acting suspiciously in the vicinity.
Thefts in several towns
Yet, two apartments in the same Sliema block were burgled one day last week at about 4.30pm.
Apart from the Sliema, St Julian’s, San Ġwann, Pembroke and Swieqi area, an increase in thefts has been reported from residences in Rabat and Mtarfa, as well Marsascala, Birżebbuġa and Żabbar.
The police have once again urged people to team up with neighbours to be on the lookout for anything that might look abnormal. The installation of alarms, CCTV systems and security locks could also help. However, they urged a certain degree of caution.
“One woman called to say there was a man standing right outside her residence who looked like he was observing people going in and out of their homes. But we found no one there.
“It is good that people become more aware of what’s going on but at the same time we cannot suspect that everyone’s a thief,” one police officer said.
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