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Fast And Furious Gang Caught After Dramatic Helicopter Chase

Crooks in Romania branded the 'Fast and Furious' gang for their daredevil raids on moving trucks have been sentenced to a total of 160 years in jail for their highway robberies. Fifteen defendants belonging to the organised crime gang got between five and twelve years each for aggravated robbery, for the spectacular heists which were carried out with a combination of highly skilled driving - and iron nerves. In addition they were ordered to pay 190,000 GBP in compensation to the victims who could be identified as well as 50,000 GBP in fines. They are also facing civil action from other suspected victims. Florin Marian Harcau, 33, was the main robber who climbed on to the bonnets of moving cars as they pursued trucks along motorways. As the car moved closer to the rear of the travelling lorry - in a blind spot where the trucker was unable to see him in the mirrors - he would clamber on to the trailer, cut the seals on the lorry's load and clamber aboard. Another, Adrian Porumbita, 31, was one of the group's drivers that kept the car perfectly positioned behind the moving truck, while another member, Remus Macelaru, 35, had designed a special set of ropes to keep Harcau steady during his high-speed robbery. In the same vehicle, on the back seats, two colleagues handled the fragile objects that were thrown from the trucks and then stashed away if the thieves found something worth stealing. Romanian cops had set up a special task force that included helicopters fitted with infra-red cameras to try and catch the gang -- who were arrested after they successfully spotted them in operation and films the robbery from a moving truck. Policeman Raul Comutru, 45, said: "It was like something out of a Hollywood movie, the car always kept exactly the same distance behind the lorry and it was obviously done a lot of times before because it was a really smooth operation. One of the men climbed out of the roof and a second stands behind him securing him with the rope construction while he sets to work breaking open the doors." Although not seen on the video there was always a third car that had the role to slow down any vehicle coming from behind, masking the criminal activity of the group, and a fourth car was positioned in front of the moving lorry - driven by Florin Nastase, to make sure the lorry kept a similar speed, with accomplice Remus Curca next to him. This fourth car used its full-beam headlights to blind drivers coming from the front so that no one could see what was happening. The footage shows the gang opening the door of the lorry but then suddenly closing it again and driving off because it was initially believed they had either found the truck empty or carrying a cargo that was not worth stealing. But it later transpired that the gang had become suspicious that there might be a helicopter watching what they were doing, and a tape recording of a telephone conversation between the mobsters was played to the court which provided damning evidence that helped to jail them. Mobster one: 'What the ---? Every time you came around, three or four times, I think I heard a chopper, but I can't see it. Mobster two: What? Mobster one: A helicopter. Mobster two: Man, are you mad or something? Mobster one: I mean it. Mobster two: All right, we'll take a look too. Mobster one: But you can't see it, you can only hear it. You come around... Mobster two: All right. Mobster one: And you'll hear it." The conversation ends with the gang breaking off, but too late, and they were arrested a short while later.

austriantimes.com


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