Italian Police Arrest Colombians Wanted for Greek Hospital Thefts

Italian police have arrested two Colombian men suspected of being part of a gang which stole expensive medical equipment from Greek public hospitals in May 2017.

Greek police had informed Interpol, with international arrest warrants pending in the hands of the Greek authorities for grand theft. Italian police have informed the Greek prosecuting authorities, and the two defendants are due to be sent to Athens on Friday.

There is strong evidence that the two men, aged 29 and 43, were involved in the theft of medical equipment from hospitals in Attica in May 2017. The warrants were issued on Jan. 25 and Feb. 7, 2018 respectively.

According to a Kathimerini newspaper report, the two fugitives were identified as Colombian police had sent information to the Italian Guardia di Finanza, the police department dealing with financial crimes.

A Greek police team will travel to Malpensa Airport in Milan on Friday to take the two men and escort them to Greece to be tried.

The Colombian gang — identified as five men, according to witnesses — had stolen expensive medical equipment like gastroscopes from four hospitals, in Athens, Lamia, Larissa and Volos. The equipment stolen was worth over €600,000 ($691,000).

Four of the stolen pieces were found in Colombia and have been returned to Greece.

In November 2017, a 50-year-old perpetrator was arrested in Colombia’s capital Bogota, with his extradition to Greece remaining pending. On December 2017, a 25-year-old Colombian citizen was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany and was returned to Greece. Following his interrogation, he is being held in Korydallos Prison.

According to Greek police, there is only one member of the gang still at large.