Police have arrested a crew of burglars they believe carried out a series of
high-dollar heists in central Israel in recent months, including the armed
robbery of a Tiv Ta’am supermarket chain in Rishon Lezion in October 2011,
making off with over a million shekels in cash.
The suspects include Lev
Novikov, a 31-yearold resident of Samaria who works in missile development in
the Israeli arms industry, Yuri Maron, a 30-yearold computer engineer from
Holon, and Holon native Michael Reizner, the 31-year-old security guard of the
Rishon Lezion Tiv Tam branch.
The crew’s luck began to run out on
September 19, when traffic cops doing a routine patrol in the Rishon Lezion
industrial district came across a car with counterfeit license plates parked on
the side of the road. The driver, Novikov, was unable to explain to police what
he was doing at the location or why he had mountain climbing gear in his car.
The man was arrested along with another member of the gang who was spotted
nearby. The third suspect, Maron, turned himself in shortly
The gang’s biggest heist came last October, when they robbed
the Tiv Ta’am on a Saturday evening when the registers and safes are typically
full after Shabbat.
Wearing masks, they blindfolded two cashiers and made
off with a million shekels in cash.
Only a few weeks earlier, at the same
location, a security guard reported an attempt by masked men with climbing gear
to break into the same building again by way of the roof.
subdistrict of the Israel Police has tasked a special investigative team with
Police believe the burglars could be responsible for several
additional large-scale robberies of businesses in central Israel in recent
years, and they are currently focusing on five specific cases.
Thursday morning, all three men were brought to the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s
Court where the remand of each suspect was extended until October 9. Both
Reizner and Maron have told police that they were together at Reizner’s house at
the time of the robbery last October.
Maron faces charges of conspiracy
to commit a crime, robbery, armed robbery and accessory to armed robbery, while
Reizner faces charges of conspiracy to commit a crime and
Novikov stands accused of counterfeiting a car’s license plate,
conspiracy to commit a crime, burglary and possession of stolen
Novikov’s attorney told the court on Thursday that his client
is not a trained, hardened criminal; rather that he had foolishly tried to
recreate a heist he saw in a movie.
As of Thursday, the police had not
held a confrontation between the different suspects, to see if they can catch
holes in their stories.