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    Fake police tourist scammers face prison time

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    The public prosecutor had demanded prison sentences of five and six years for three thieves who dressed as policemen and robbed tourists in Bruges and Ghent, among other places. Since the end of May last year, Bruges, Ghent and other Flemish cities have been plagued by the fake police officers, who followed a pattern for their crime.

    The victims were first addressed by a gang member who asked them to exchange money for him. Shortly after, two other gang members appeared who claimed to be policemen in civilian clothes. They waved a counterfeit badge and claimed they were shadowing the first man as part of an investigation.

    They first checked the wallet of their companion and then that of the victims, the public prosecutor clarified yesterday in the Bruges criminal court. “After the ‘check’ they got their wallet back but afterwards money or a credit card disappeared.

    With the help of cameras with license plate recognition, the police were able to charge three Romanians in Bruges at the beginning of September.

    “The victims were mostly Asians who do not know what our language sounds like or how our police officers look or behave. They blatantly abused the trust they placed in the police,” said the public prosecutor, who called for the two men who pretended to be policemen to receive six years in prison, and five years for their companion.

    The three admitted to almost all the facts at the trial, but continued to deny the use of violent force in some instances. It is understood that there were also two female accomplices also in on the scam.

    The verdict will come on the 29 April.

    The Brussels Times