Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Romanian Auction Scammer Escapes Arrest & Vanishes

Via Threat Level -

Romanian authorites made headlines last week after busting 70 suspected cyberthieves accused of operating online auction scams. But it turns out one of the ringleaders was set free after authorities failed to file the required paperwork on time — and now he’s vanished.

Police say the 70 suspects ran scams on eBay and other online auction sites since 2006.

Romanian law allows suspects to be held in jail, in a so-called preventive arrest, for 29 days while an investigation is underway if authorities prove to the court that they need to hold the suspect while evidence is examined. While the court was busy ruling on an extended arrest for the other suspects, Nicolae Popescu, 30, walked out of the courthouse without the police being notified, according to a local news report. The deadline for his initial arrest had passed, and because the court had not yet ruled on his extended detention, he was allowed to leave.

Romanian police defended the slip, saying there were too many criminals to process and not enough people to watch the suspects and do the paperwork. Agents had been working 48 hours and were tired, a spokesman told a local paper.

Police are now appealing to the public to be on the lookout for Popescu or any of his three cars.


The three cars include a white Mercedes Benz ML with the license plate "B-63-JOC" (B63"Play" in Romanian), a Black Mercedes Benz CLS 350 with the license plate "B-42-JOC", and a black Audi A6 with the license plate "B-80-BJI".

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