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Photo by: BEN HARTMAN
'Motorcycle bandit' brought before Ramle court
By BEN HARTMAN
06/12/2012
Former Border Patrol officer stands accused of armed robbery, murder; police believe he pulled off robbery of Bank Hapoalim.
 
Shackled with his head buried underneath his jacket, a man police say is the “Motorcycle Bandit 2,” the No. 1 target of the Central District Police, was brought into the Ramle Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, where his remand was extended until next Wednesday.

Surrounded by a dozen police officers, Gabi Kosanosky of Rishon Lezion was brought before the judge and a phalanx of photographers befitting his alleged status as a serial bank robber, responsible for hitting at least 15 banks in central Israel over the past year-and-a-half.

The former Border Police officer stands accused of armed robbery and murder, as police believe he pulled off the armed robbery of a Bank Hapoalim in Be’er Ya’acov in August in which security guard Yaniv Engler was shot dead.

Detectives originally requested a 15-day remand extension during the hearing.

They told the judge on Thursday that Kosanosky cooperated with investigators after he was caught robbing a bank in Be’er Ya’acov Wednesday night, and that he confessed to at least two of the robberies.

They added that he did not, however, confess to the shooting of Engler.

The judge ruled that the evidence presented by police indicated there is reason to suspect Kosanosky is responsible for the crimes he has been charged with, and that his release could endanger the public.

Lawyer Shahar Hatzroni told the court to grant the police the 15-day extension, arguing that they would exhaust their investigation over the course of those days and come to the conclusion that his client is not involved in the series of crimes he has been charged with.

Hatzroni also accused police of taking advantage of the fact that a man was caught red-handed in the course of a robbery, launching an attempt to get his client to link himself to all of the robberies as well as the murder of Engler.

“Other than the incident yesterday and a separate one which he reenacted [for] police, he has no connection to any of the other incidents, including the murder in Be’er Ya’acov,” Hatzroni said.

Engler’s parents and two other relatives attended the Thursday hearing, and when asked why he came, Engler’s father, Asher, said: “I want to see the cruelty of this person who shot my son four times at point blank range.”

The family said they are not certain that Kosanosky is the man who killed their son in a robbery that netted only NIS 4,000, as police had previously arrested another man months earlier who they suspected was the serial bank robber.

When asked what penalty he hopes Kosanosky will get, if he is indeed the man who killed his son, Asher said, “A bullet in the head, he should die.”

The first “Motorcycle Bandit,” Rony Leibovitz, became something of a folk hero and media phenomenon after he robbed 21 banks in 1990 before being was caught. Leibovitz ended up serving eight years in prison for the string of armed robberies.
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