Posted on: August 5, 2022, 12:15h. 

Last updated on: August 5, 2022, 12:46h.

A trio of criminals is behind bars in Malta after robbing a sportsbook in the Mediterranean island country. Their downfall came thanks to surveillance footage that also provided irrefutable evidence of other crimes.

Courthouse in Valleta, Malta
A view of the courthouse in Valleta, Malta. A trio of Maltese criminals who allegedly robbed a betting shop and committed other crimes now await trial behind bars. (Image: Media Freedom Rapid Response)

The suspects approached a woman walking down the street, attacking her and stealing her necklace, per Malta Today. The incident was caught on area surveillance footage, and the investigation began.

In that footage, police could also make out a vehicle, a Peugeot 507. Two days later, the same vehicle was part of the attack on the gambling shop. The thieves also allowed themselves to be captured on video. As a result, investigators could link them to both crimes, as well as others in the area.

Reign of Terror Ends

The assault on the woman included three men – George Galea, Silvio Pace, and Ronald Urry. All three appeared on the surveillance camera footage police reviewed following the incidents.

Police didn’t waste time identifying the criminals, since they all have extensive criminal records. The investigators also had enough detail in the footage to recognize the Peugeot and two of the men as the culprits behind the betting shop assault.

Familiar with the trio, officers paid a visit to Urry’s house. There, they arrested him and Pace. They caught Galea on the streets.

Galea and Urry face charges of aggravated assault with violence, attempted extortion, kidnapping and damage to property. Pace is looking at charges of armed robbery and violating bail.

Galea was also out on bail for previous crimes, and he and Pace will likely receive stronger punishments as a result. He also allegedly brandished a firearm during the robbery of the betting shop, adding more charges to the list.

The extortion and kidnapping charges stem from the alleged attempt to force the shop employee and a customer to remain quiet. The robbers eventually left with around €2,400 (US$2,444).

In addition to these two crimes, police suspect the gang to be behind the armed robbery of a home in June. They allegedly took over the residence following that attack. However, all three, when they made their court appearance following the arrest, denied involvement in all of the incidents. This time, they did not receive bail.

Track Record

The backgrounds of the criminals include a track record of violent activity. Galea allegedly killed his brother-in-law and his nephew, who were caught up in the illegal drug trade. He has pleaded not guilty as he waits for the case to go to trial.

Urry spent time in jail in 2018 following the robbery of a supermarket. However, like Galea, he may have committed murder. A taxi driver’s body was found buried in a field in 2013 – the same field where Urry allegedly buried his brother-in-law and nephew that same year.

Pace isn’t too far away from the same past. He spent 20 years in jail for an explosion that killed two people in 1992. After he became a free man, he kept up his criminal ways. He served probation for three years following a string of thefts.