China today

Suspect arrested after 22 years on run

2017-03-31 07:55:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

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Police in Zhejiang province have caught a suspect in a high-profile murder and robbery who had been on the run for 22 years.

The 45-year-old suspect, identified by police as Xu, robbed a jewelry store in Ningbo in 1995, shooting two guards to death and stealing 11 kilograms of gold and platinum products.

In 2004, police offered 200,000 yuan ($28,900), and later raised the amount to 500,000 yuan, for information about the crime, plus another three robberies he was believed to have committed later.

Police said on Thursday that Xu, a native of Linhai, Taizhou city, was caught on Wednesday afternoon at a games room in Zhejiang's Zhuji city.

"Over the past 22 years, the police have traveled hundreds of thousands of kilometers across all the provinces and regions, except for Taiwan and Tibet, to search for the suspect," Yu Liujiang, deputy director-in-chief of the special investigation team, said at a news conference in Zhuji on Thursday.

"We have examined and checked more than 12 million possible pieces of evidence and searched up to 100 million pieces of data," he added.

In the early hours of Dec 6, 1995, Xu climbed into the generator room on the sixth floor of the Lyuzhou jewelry store via the air conditioners on the outer wall, before descending into the store's main trading area on the ground floor through an elevator shaft.

He approached the two guards on patrol there, took them under control and bound their hands and feet.

Then he opened four safes and took jewelry worth 1.6 million yuan. Before leaving he shot the two guards to death.

Police found a self-made muffler, crowbar, dagger, backpack rope and a pair of insulating gloves at the site.

Xu later tried to break into other sites including a department store and jewelry shop in different cities in Zhejiang in 1998, 2004 and 2007.

He was discovered by security guards at two of the sites, injuring the guards with a knife or gun before fleeing.

Before his last robbery, his image was captured on a camera as he checked out the surroundings of a jewelry shop. Similar to the first robbery, a number of belongings and weapons including a hat, crowbar, self-made grenade and muffler were left behind.

Police said the preliminary investigation helped narrow down the list of suspects. For example, it was believed that the suspect had mechanical skills, had once visited the China-Myanmar border, and knew how to drive.

Capturing the suspect went smoothly, police said. Three special teams were sent to his residence in Zhuji, where they arrested him.

Shi Xiaofeng in Hangzhou and He Qi in Shanghai contributed to this story.