MaltaToday | 13 August 2008

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NEWS | Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Seventh “smart” robbery from communications’ company

Barely three days after the Floriana offices of Associated News Group (ANG) Limited, the advertising agency owned by journalist Godfrey Grima, were burgled, it was the turn of his controversial brother Joe to suffer the same fate, MaltaToday has learnt.
Joe Grima’s International Telecommunications Corporation (ITC)’s offices at St Luke’s Road, Gwardamangia, a stone’s throw away from the PBS studios, were broken into on the night between Sunday 27 July and Monday 28 July. From there, the robbers took a laptop together with its battery charger.
Along with Joe Grima’s offices, the robbers also broke into three other offices in the same building: a travel agency, an IT company and a hair loss clinic, MaltaToday has learnt.
“Yes, our offices have been broken into and a laptop has been stolen,” Joe Grima said curtly when contacted by this paper. Asked about the motive behind this theft, Joe Grima would not speculate about the matter.
“I did not even speak to the police as I had left the office when they arrived,” he said.
Joe Grima’s theft raises to seven the number of communications companies who had their offices burgled in the space of three weeks for laptops, computers and other expensive equipment.
Sources close to the investigation told MaltaToday that the police had “clear indications” as to the motive behind the spate of robberies, and that the thieves were “well-connected” to the communications industry.
The communications companies that have not been hit by the spate of thefts have all bolstered their security precautions to avoid ending up as the target of the robbers.
Strangely enough, the police have remained silent about the whole series of robberies from communications companies, with the CMRU failing to issue even a single press release about the thefts.
The Police have not excluded totally that industrial espionage had been the motive behind the spate of thefts from advertising agencies and communications companies, although they claimed that this was “improbable”.
This revelation came a day after that the police were investigating the sixth theft in the series, from the offices of Miranda Publications, in Sliema. Unidentified thieves stole three laptops, expensive photographic equipment and cash on the night between Thursday 7 August and Friday 8 August, said company director Eddie Aquilina.
A spokesperson for the Police’s Community and Media Relations Unit (CMRU) said that in all cases, the culprits are targeting laptop computers, cash, photographic equipment and other items. “Therefore, one can safely say that the intruder/s are not targeting just computer equipment. More rather than less, this leads one to understand that it is not the likelihood of having a case of industrial espionage.”
On 27 July, sister paper Illum had revealed how a spate of thefts from advertising agencies and other communications companies in the space of a few days had led to tension in the communications industry as to the motive behind the burglaries.
Sources close to the advertising industry had told the sister paper that they were not excluding that the robber or robbers were looking for “sensitive content”.
Godfrey Grima, the director of ANG Limited, said there could be various motives behind the robberies, but the possibility of industrial espionage was the most probable.
The previous night, on Wednesday 23 July, robbers broke into the offices of Network Publications Limited in Ta’ Xbiex, publishers of table magazines, from where six laptops were stolen.
Despite the fact that JP Advertising Limited shares the same building, their offices were not broken into.
However a subsidiary company of JP Advertising, Blaze Productions, which produces television adverts and audiovisual productions, was also burgled earlier in the week, from where an unspecified clock was stolen.
Two days earlier, on Monday 21 July, robbers stole six laptops and a camera from the offices of branding company Switch, in Ta’ Xbiex.
Another advertising agency, Perfecta Advertising Limited, situated at Ta’ Xbiex as well, was also burgled some time earlier.

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13 August 2008

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