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(Sabah Newspaper, 19 December 2011)
Istanbul police set up an operation while a robbery gang was having a
football match. When a policeman wearing the referee's uniform blew
his whistle during the match and said 'everyone lie down!' the operation
began and police arrested nine members of the gang.
The police had acted after an increase in cigarette robberies at grocery
stores in Istanbul neighborhoods. The nine-person gang entered stores
with the pretext that they were seeking help for anemic children and
instead stole cigarettes. After three months of surveillance police got a
tip that the thieves planned to have a football match last Wednesday at
a field in Şişli.
Taking strict security measures around the pitch, a policeman in the
guise of a referee took the field to determine whether or not the thieves
had come to the scene. The match then began with two sides of six
players each, none of them realizing that the referee was a policeman
from Istanbul Security.
At the 35th minute of the match, which was hard-fought and the score
3-2, the referee blew his whistle and told everyone to lie down. The
players didn't understand what was happening and were shocked to
see the police come on the field. Of the players lying on the field,
Selçuk K. (30), Nihat Ş.(29), Gencay T.(30), Murat K.(32), Sinan K.
(30) and Aytekin S. (38) were taken into custody.
Also taken into custody were Ali S.(25), Nihal S. (54) and Dilek S.
(40), who had come to Istanbul for robbery, at their home in Bursa.
They were brought back to Istanbul. The suspects were charged with
64 counts of theft. They denied the charges when they gave statements
at the Istanbul Public Safety Pickpocket and Fraud Bureau but were
all transported to Çağlayan Jail.