Taipei police have detained three Colombian men in connection with the burglary of a construction company owner’s condominium on Friday last week, while the search continues for local suspects believed to have been involved.
The trio were picked up in Kaohsiung on Monday as they checked into separate hotels and were brought back to Taipei for questioning.
“We identified three Colombian men based on surveillance camera footage and other information. The trio are considered the main suspects in the robbery, and we believe they belong to an international criminal ring,” Neihu Police Precinct investigation section captain Liu Tsung-jen (劉宗仁) said.
Photo: Wen Yu-teh, Taipei Times
The men arrived in Kaohsiung from Singapore on March 14 on a Scoot airline flight, with tourist visas, Liu said.
Identifying the men by just their first names, Liu said Luis, 37; German, 35, and Edgar, 56, would face charges for robbing the home of the businessman, surnamed Peng (彭).
Investigators determined that the three rode buses to Taipei and then used the mass transit system to reach Peng’s residence near the Dahu Park MRT Station, Liu said.
Two of the men allegedly climbed to the top of a neighboring building and then jumped to the roof of Peng’s home and broke in through a window while Peng and his family were out at a medical appointment, he said.
The home was ransacked and a safe pried open with metal bars, and an estimated NT$6.8 million (US$228,833) in New Taiwan dollars, Chinese yuan and US dollars, gold bars and jewelry was taken, the police said.
“After receiving the crime report, we formed a task force the next day. We found the trio had changed their clothing before and after the robbery in an effort to throw police off their trail, but through surveillance cameras we were able identify them and determine where they were staying in Taipei,” Liu said.
After discovering the men had left the city, “we dispatched a 20-man team to Kaohsiung and caught them on Monday as they checked into different hotels,” Liu said.
About NT$6.3 million of cash and valuables were recovered when the men were detained, he said.
Investigators are now focused on trying to find the Taiwanese they believe to be behind the robbery.
“The trio headed directly to the residence from the MRT station, and they did not look at other places. We do not believe it is possible that three foreigners were familiar with the intended target, knew the family was out that day, and took the MRT and long-distance buses from Kaohsiung to Taipei and back on their own,” Liu said.
“They must have had local help, someone who plotted the robbery and gave them instructions on how to get around,” he said.
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