Updated at 3pm
A ‘suspicious’ package found on the porch of a Balzan family home, which brought out the bomb disposal unit, turned out to contain leftover items from a five-figure robbery at a nearby house – with all the cash missing.
The man suspected to have been behind the theft – a long-time employee of the household – was arrested but the cash remains unaccounted for, police sources said on Saturday.
They said the robbery took place on Friday evening.
At about 6pm a man noticed a suspicious package on his front porch in Triq San Valentinu, Balzan, and, fearful of the worst, he called the police.
He dialled 112 and was put through to the Birkirkara police station. The police officer on duty told him to take the package to the station.
However, within minutes, the police seemed to have a change of heart about the potential seriousness of the find. Police came on site and cordoned off the area while the Armed Forces of Malta’s Bomb Disposal Unit were called in to investigate.
The AFM found that the package, which was wrapped in yellow tape, had no explosives or any devices inside it and that it was safe.
Instead, the package contained two pairs of Versace sunglasses, a handbag, some documents and an envelope which had the figure “€60,000” written on it.
The police immediately checked the CCTV footage of a residence in the vicinity where a theft had just been reported.
The only person seen on video entering those premises was an employee of the household. When he was approached he began to tremble, a police source said.
He was arrested on the spot and taken in for questioning.
The police believe that the man, a Filipino, stole the items from the residence where he had worked as a handyman for the past four years. Investigators also think that he may have had an accomplice.
The CCTV footage showed the man entering and leaving the house three times in a short span of time.
One possible explanation for the package being left on the front porch of a nearby residence is that the man was planning to return for the stolen items. However, the package may also have been discarded because it was the money that the thieves were after, police sources said.
Residents told The Sunday Times of Malta that there had been a spike in crime in the area during recent months.
On Sunday afternoon, the man pleaded guilty to robbing €16,000, saying he had done so to fuel a gambling addiction.
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