Police from the Brussels-Ixelles police zone carried out nine search warrants this week and made nine arrests in connection with a series of home invasions that had taken place in the district of Laeken in Brussels-City commune.
The search warrants targetted premises in Laeken itself, Molenbeek, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Jette, Berchem-Sainte-Agathe and Dilbeek, as well as the prison at Nivelles. The federal police assisted the local police in the operation.
Nine men aged 19 to 24 were taken into custody. Three were later released. One was already in prison in Nivelles, one was detained for being in breach of his parole, and four were charged with criminal conspiracy and held.
The investigation concerns a series of home invasions – where thieves break into a home when the occupants are present and rob and possibly assault them – that had taken place in the Modelwijk or Cité Modèle area of Laeken (photo), a group of 12 apartment blocks with various social amenities.
“The nine men who were picked up are known to the justice system and have or had a link to the Modelwijk,” a spokesperson for the Brussels-Ixelles zone said. “Between mid-September and the end of October 2019 four home invasions and one attempt took in in or around the area, particularly targetting older people. In addition, a number of armed robberies took place in night shops, supermarkets and one restaurant. The suspects detained are believed to have a connection to these various crimes.”