Four arrests for home theft, especially against elderly people alone, receiving stolen goods and forging license plates. It is the result of the “Centauro” operation, coordinated by the Asti Public Prosecutor’s Office and conducted by the Carabinieri of the Provincial Command of Cuneo, who executed a precautionary custody order yesterday morning (Tuesday 24 January). In trouble Daniel Decolombi (33, from Carmagnola), Gabriele Barbero (37, from Villafranca Piemonte), Massimo Zara (50, from Villafranca) and Gilberto Appendino (66, from Villafranca Piemonte), all offenders with specific precedents. The first two, of Sinti ethnicity, are locked up in the Asti prison, the others under house arrest. A fifth person (a roommate of one of the suspects) was also arrested because he was found in possession of 300 grams of marijuana. According to the investigations, between the end of August and December the group carried out 29 “hit”s (9 traditional thefts with break-ins, 20 through deception after having won the trust of the victims) in a very large area between the provinces of Cuneo and Turin. In particular in Pralormo (the first episode, with escape on a scooter, hence “Centauro”), the others in Saluzzo, Borgo San Dalmazzo, Fossano, Racconigi, Rivalta di Torino, Rosta, Torre Pellice, Volpiano, Piasco, Magliano Alpi , Revello, Chivasso, Baldissero Torinese, Govone, Poirino, Cafasse, Caraglio, Neive, Bricherasio, Envie, Carmagnola, Villafranca and Villanova Mondovì. Main protagonists Decolombi and Barbero (who also acted as “stake”), Zara would have participated only in traditional thefts and not in scams, while Appendino, a pensioner, is considered one of the fences. The modus operandi was always the same: the technique of the false operator, who presents himself with an identification tag and with the excuse of a check or a fake malfunction of the electrical, water or gas systems, deceives and robs the elderly savings, or enters homes unattended to steal money, jewels, electronic equipment. In the thirty cases identified (but there could be many more), the stolen goods are estimated to be over 100,000 euros. A professional organization, very well tested, also with the use of digital systems to clone the frequencies of the remote controls of the electric gates and of the cars. They ensured escape in large-engined cars or scooters, with counterfeit license plates that prevented the recognition of the vehicles through the recordings of the video surveillance cameras, causing many difficulties for the investigators. “The collaboration of the victims in the description of those responsible and of the cars is fundamental – said the provincial commander, Colonel Giuseppe Carubia, who spoke at the press conference this morning with Lieutenant Colonel Angelo Gerardi, commander of the Operations Department -. The victims are mostly elderly people with frailties, deceived with sneaky methods. Often they open the door just to have a moment of company. A particularly cowardly and hateful crime, which exploits people’s good faith and solitude”. “We invite greater distrust – he underlined -: At the slightest doubt, we recommend contacting 112 immediately. We have activated an awareness campaign, with various meetings in senior citizens’ centers and parishes, which will be strengthened. The right strategy is to talk about it, inform, involve society, raising the level of attention”.
Text by Matteo Borgetto, video by Francesco Doglio