October 9, six men and one woman from Belarus were expelled from Iceland and barred from reentering the country, because they applied for asylum using falsified passports and stole goods worth millions of ISK, Vísir reports. Police lament how the suspects took advantage of the misery of other asylum seekers.
Prior to being expelled, the thieves had all been detained for three weeks. The Directorate of Immigration, in cooperation with police, decided to expel them.
Benedikt Lund, representative with the Reykjavík Police, remarks, “A house search revealed stolen goods worth ISK 2 million (USD 15,600; EUR 14,000). We don’t know what the goods they had already shipped were worth, but they were worth quite a bit, and no less than this, I’m sure.”
The people arrived in the country early in the summer, using their own passports, but then used falsified ones when applying for asylum. They were provided with housing while their applications were processed.
“Their sole purpose of entering the country was to steal goods from stores and sell the loot abroad. They all had jobs in Belarus and knew exactly what they were doing. This was organized in detail,” Benedikt explains.
The theft was discovered late in September, following tips from other asylum seekers who shared an apartment complex with the suspects, who had also been caught on surveillance camera videos in several stores. The part of the loot which had been shipped to Belarus was sold online. The female suspect showed police the website where the goods were sold.
“Other asylum seekers were angered by this and alerted us,” Benedikt reports, “Of course, most people who come here are honest and it’s sad how those individuals try to take advantage of other people’s misery.”