A gang of eleven Romanian nationals in their twenties has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison after a lengthy house break-in tour across Norway robbing the elderly aged 81 to 101 years, the daily newspaper Aftenposten reported.
The Nordre Vestfold District Court found no reasonable doubt that the individuals had "no other purpose than to commit gross thefts from elderly people in their homes." The loot included gold rings, jewelry boxes, brooches, earrings and banknotes. In many cases, rings and necklaces, were picked straight from the fingers or the necks of the victims paralyzed by fear.
All the eleven convicts come from the same city in Romania, but have long lived in Dortmund, Germany. In February, they alighted in Norway using a ferry from Denmark.
Most of the crimes followed the same pattern: one or two women approached Norwegian retirees in their homes under the pretext of performing health checks or a visit from the municipality. At times, the elderly victims were stalked on the street, subsequently penetrating their homes under the pretext of "helping with the door."
The perpetrators also found that the gang members ran the Romanian words for "retirement homes" and "nursing homes" through Google translate, only to later search the map for the results in Norwegian. Several of the elderly victims who testified about their experience admitted that the thefts or theft attempts had caused much fear, turmoil and a greatly reduced quality of life.
According to the police, there may be more victims.
"We are not sure that all the victims have been found. We are still left with many valuable items whose owners we haven't managed to identify yet," Lene Skeistrand of the South East Police District told Aftenposten.
According to the verdict, several of the Romanian have been previously convicted a number of times for thefts, robberies and organized crime. A 26-year-old woman has been convicted ten times in Germany and four times in the Netherlands.
A 27-year-old woman was the only gang member who acknowledged her guilt, thus receiving a shorter sentence of two years and two months in prison. The other ten, aged 20 to 26, were sentenced to three and a half years. Two of them, a couple, have five small children in Germany. According to the verdict, since they deliberately left the children behind before embarking on the crime spree in Norway, concern over the children's fate is irrelevant for the term of imprisonment. The sentences could have been longer, though, if the court accepted the accusation of committing criminal acts as part of an organized group, which it rejected.