Police on Monday arrested the head of a Ramle-based gang of thieves which preyed on the elderly, using extreme violence during robberies of their homes.
The gang leader, identified only as BB, 32, of Ramle, and an accomplice, MD, 29, also of Ramle, were arrested following a lengthy undercover investigation by the Central District's Central Unit.
In one recent robbery, gang members pretending to be Electric Corporation employees knocked on the door of an elderly woman in Lod. The suspects convinced the woman to open her door, telling her that a "fault in the electrical system required repair," police said.
After gaining access to her apartment, the suspects repeatedly punched the woman in the face, threatened her life, dragged her by the hair and attempted to bind her, police said. "She required hospital treatment and is suffering from continuing trauma," they added.
"We suspect they carried out an additional number of similar violent attacks on the elderly," Supt. Elidov Hecht, who headed the investigation into the gang, told The Jerusalem Post.
"We think the suspects were part of a larger group. This gang operated all over Israel and was active in Jerusalem, the South and in the Center, targeting many addresses," he said.
"This was their way of life. They would get up in the morning, and break into homes to steal jewelry or break open safes. If they got good information, they would target the elderly. They didn't balk at causing serious injury, and their attacks could have ended in fatalities," Hecht said. "Their activity could be drug-related, but the main purpose of their lives was to rob and assault all day long."
The suspects will be brought before a court for a remand hearing on Tuesday.