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October 22, 2010

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Police are hopeful of finding stolen gold

THREE suspected robbers involved in the armed robbery of a jewelry store in a Shanghai hypermarket who stole 3 kilograms of gold early last month have been arrested. So far only 1kg of gold has been recovered, the Minhang District Prosecutors' Office said yesterday.

Prosecutors said it was difficult to get back the remaining 2kg of gold because the trio had agreed before the robbery that they wouldn't return it even if they were caught.

Police investigating the robbery believe the other 2kg of gold has been transferred to accomplices of the gang, but there is still hope of finding it.

The robbery happened at about 8:20pm on September 8. Three men, wearing masks and carrying toy guns and smoke bombs, rushed to the Jiujia Jewels' counter at the E-Mart on Lianhua Road S. in Minhang District.

They threatened sales staff with the toy guns, threw the bombs to produce smoke and smashed the counters with hammers, prosecutors said.

Altogether, 3kg of gold was taken with a total value of more than 900,000 yuan (US$134,933), police said.

Using the masks, cigarette butts and toy guns the suspects left at the scene, police caught the gang in September.

The three, who all have criminal records, are natives of Qijiang County, Chongqing Municipality and have known each other since childhood.

They gathered together one day in August, complaining about being short of money, prosecutors said.

Zhang Dajiang, 32, who used to be a security guard in Shanghai, said he knew that Jiujia Jewels was near to the exit of the hypermarket and it was in an ideal location to be robbed, prosecutors claimed.

Zhang Dajiang, together with Wang Fen, 32 and Zhang Bing, 42, then made preparations to stage the robbery.

They searched other cases of jewelry store robberies online and made notes on why those robbers were caught.

Zhang Dajiang concluded that other robbers were caught because they didn't wear masks and they drove cars to escape, prosecutors said.

They decided that the robbery must be finished within two minutes and the best method of escape would be by bike or on a bus.

Following the robbery, each of the suspects took 1kg of gold and separated from their accomplices.

Police found Zhang Bing first by using forensic evidence gathered from his mask.

"I didn't sleep well after the robbery. I used to have a successful business, but I joined the robbery because the business was losing money recently," Zhang Bing told prosecutors. He said he had lost the gold and didn't know where it was.

The other two robbers were caught soon afterwards. Police confiscated 1kg of gold which was being carried by Zhang Dajiang in Tongzi County, Guizhou Province.

Police are still investigating other crimes related to the trio.


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