Palaiocostas hideout raided

Police yesterday were examining evidence taken from the suspected hideout of escaped convict Vassilis Palaiocostas in Alepohori, wesern Attica, which officers raided late on Tuesday night. The raid on the coastal summerhouse was carried out just a few hours after a man believed to be Palaiocostas evaded a police roadblock in the area and fled on foot into a nearby forest. Officers emerged from the raid with several forged driving licenses, fake car license plates as well as wigs and other disguise props. But the search turned up no guns or money. It is believed that Palaiocostas and Alket Rizai, the Albanian convict with whom the 43-year-old serial robber escaped from Korydallos Prison in February, had been holed up in the Alepohori house for the past two months. Police are now also seeking Rizai’s 33-year-old Greek girlfriend, who has been going under the fake name of Eleni Fotiadou and is believed to have rented the house for the two fugitives to use as a hideout. The woman is believed to be the same tall blonde who rented the helicopter used in February’s spectacular jailbreak. At that time, she used the name Alexandrova, police said. The 33-year-old is believed to have been present in court when the two criminals were on trial for their first helicopter escape in June 2006 and to have slipped a wrist watch that also functions as a cellular phone to Rizai that the pair are believed to have used to communicate with accomplices. A massive police operation in western Attica, involving some 500 officers, was called off late yesterday as it became clear that the fugitives had once again eluded authorities. But Interior Minister Christos Markoyiannakis said that the search would go on. «The Palaiocostas case is a priority. The effort will continue and we hope to have results soon,» he said.

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