Statements from three suspects in custody in connection with a mystery scooter believed to have been involved in Monday’s Nicosia drive-by shooting have raised more questions.
Cops are pursuing every possible lead in the latest suspected gangland incident, when two men on a white scooter fired shots at the back of the vehicle belonging to 57-year-old Nicosia businessman Nikos Rodhotheou. The incident took late Monday night near Hilton, at the traffic lights next to an abandoned military camp, while no injuries were reported.
Mystery scooter shows up in two investigations
A white scooter, matching the description given by Rodhotheou to police, was later said to have been spotted in another case under investigation.
Anti-drug police officers had placed two Greek Cypriots men under surveillance and followed them from Lakatamia in west Nicosia to Pallouriotissa in the eastern boroughs of the capital. On Tuesday, the two suspects and a Syrian national were arrested as they were trying to load the scooter into a van. The owner of the scooter, who is reportedly abroad, told police over the phone he had asked a friend to transport the scooter for maintenance.
Cops are looking into additional security camera footage to establish whether they have the right scooter in the drive-by shooting
Investigators later learned that the white scooter was reported as being silver in the state’s motor vehicle registration data, while licence plates had been removed. They are also searching for additional security camera footage and other pieces of evidence to establish the exact route of the scooter on Monday night, in order to confirm whether they have the right scooter and suspects.
The three men gave alibis to police, with one saying he got a call from the scooter’s owner asking him to take the scooter to the mechanic, another saying he got a call from the first suspect to help out with his business van, and the third one telling cops he was out walking with his two-month baby when he saw the men with the van and offered to help.
Nicosia crime investigators believe the drive-by shooting could be a warning against Rodhotheou, the younger brother of Andreas Rodhotheou who was gunned down in a secluded safe house in Limassol last April.
Rodotheou senior’s name had been implicated by a witness during the criminal trial in the Ayia Napa gangland slaying, where businessman Phanos Kalospidiotis and three others, including an off-duty cop, were shot dead back in 2016.
A recent killing on Ayia Napa highway was also tied to the Kalopsidiotis trial, where 33-year-old Gary Boris Christodoulou was killed execution-style after months of warnings according to his family.
Officials have gone public over the last couple of years with the concern that an unprecedented turf war coupld play out on the island as gangs fight each other.