Man held for highway hijacking of two trucks

One suspect has been arrested for last month’s audacious highway hijacking of two trucks full of cigarettes by men posing as traffic policemen, police said yesterday. Officers arrested Polycarpos Ermidis, 25, and were also seeking Costas Panailidis, 29, and another six men whose identities were not known on suspicion of participation in the March 17 theft of 1.55 million euros’ worth of cigarettes. Two men in traffic police uniforms had flagged down the two trucks, ostensibly for an inspection, near the Afidnes tollgate on the Athens-to-Lamia highway. For extra realism, the gang had also parked a car with police markings at the spot. When the drivers got out, the thieves drew guns, locked their victims in a van and drove off with the trucks. But the scheme failed when both heavy vehicles broke down just outside Athens, and were abandoned unplundered.

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