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A resident of Netanya was arrested yesterday on suspicion of mugging eight people in less than 12 hours.

The 52-year-old man, who has a history of property offenses, was nabbed as he was returning from the final mugging, police said. They said he was found with a great deal of stolen property and was also carrying a knife, which he is suspected of having used to threaten some of his victims.

The first mugging was reported at about 3 A.M., when two teens said a man riding a scooter assaulted them with a club and robbed them as they were walking near the Carmel Hotel. Seven similar reports, all from downtown Netanya, poured in over the next several hours.

The investigation soon produced a suspect, so police staked out his house and arrested him as he returned, riding his scooter, at about 2 P.M. His scooter proved to be loaded with loot, and a search of his house turned up many additional objects that seem to match reports of stolen goods from earlier robberies and break-ins.

Police believe he committed the latest string of robberies while under the influence of drugs.