Ukraine Cracks Down on Revenge Arson Syndicate

Опубликовано: 21 Март 2024

Ukraine Police Seizure ArsonistsMoney, bank cards, mobi phones and other items seized during the search of the suspected arsonists' homes. (Photo: Національна поліція України, License)

Ukrainian authorities say they have dismantled a criminal group that people could hire to carry out revenge attacks or burn down homes of their client’s adversaries in exchange for US$500 to $3,000.

Ukraine’s National Police reported on Wednesday that they have identified the ringleaders of this criminal enterprise – a 20-year-old and a 26-year-old men from Kyiv and Chernihiv, as well as nine other men aged 17 to 34 from Kyiv and Zhytomyr. They are suspected of orchestrating and executing arson attacks.

The men were not immediately apprehended, but instead, they were slapped with petitions for preventive measures, mandating round-the-clock house arrest, according to police.

Before executing their attacks, the arsonists diligently devised plans, surveilled the target area, acquired the necessary fuel and lubricants, and prepared Molotov cocktails for the action day, according to police.

The perpetrators arranged excursions to the targeted locations nationwide, hurling bottles loaded with flammable concoctions into residences while capturing the destruction on camera. These videos served as proof of the completed arson, and were forwarded to clients for confirmation.

A total of four apartments and five houses fell victim to such attacks in regions including Chernihiv, Poltava, Lviv, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, and Kyiv, according to police.

Officers conducted searches at the suspects' homes, gathering “indisputable evidence” of their involvement in arson. During the searches, ammunition, over $10,000 in various currencies, bank account cards to which money for the crimes was transferred, and mobile phones used for placing orders and filming the execution of arsons were seized.

If found guilty of orchestrating the organized arson attacks for revenge, they could potentially face a maximum sentence of ten years behind bars.