Twelve people were indicted in the Be'er Sheva District Court yesterday for committing 24 violent robberies in locales throughout the country.
The defendants used severe violence against their victims, some of whom were elderly, the indictment said, and in some cases also tied them up. They stole cash, jewelry, checks, watches, documents and other valuables worth hundreds of thousands of shekels.
The defendants were indicted largely thanks to the testimony of a former gang member who turned state's evidence.
Their targets ranged from private homes to shops and other work places. According to the indictment, they followed a similar method each time. First they collected intelligence on the targeted site and its occupants. Then they hired other people to actually carry out the robberies.
One of the defendants is Yitzhak Drori, known as "The Brain," who has done prison time for other robberies. In particular, he spent seven years in prison for planning the robbery of Bank Hapoalim's main branch in Jerusalem. After being arrested in this case, he was initially released, but was then incriminated by one of his partners.
After he finished serving that sentence, Drori wrote his book "The Brain," which became a best-seller.
In the current case, Drori is charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, breaking and entering, and having equipment for breaking and entering in his possession. Specifically, he is charged with breaking into an apartment on Ben-Eliezer Street in Jerusalem. According to the indictment, Drori was joined by some of the other defendants in this incident, but he provided them with the tools and instructed them on how to break into the apartment.
Drori told the court he is being framed. "I do not know this state witness," he said. "The police are out to get me, and I have no connection to any robbery. I stopped doing these things a long time ago."
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