Two Athenians fall for cabbie’s mugging ploy

Police in Attica were yesterday searching for an Athens taxi driver believed to have robbed two customers in separate weekend incidents, with the help of an armed accomplice who posed as a passenger. In both cases, the victims were picked up at stations on the Kifissia-to-Piraeus electric railway on Saturday night by a taxi driver who already had a male passenger in the back. The first customer, Sotiris Dimitroulis, 22, wanted to go from the Maroussi station to the northern suburbs. When the taxi reached Pefki, the driver said he would take a shortcut and drove to a secluded spot where the man in the back pulled a gun and forced Dimitroulis to surrender all his cash and his mobile phone. The gunman then threatened – but did not rob – the cabbie and ran off. A similar fate awaited Maria Xenou, 21, who got in at Neo Iraklion. Of Athens’s 15,000 taxis, 1,000 are thought to be illegal.