Louis Mascotta. Trial still underway
Photo: Yaron Brener

Plea bargain for 2 who stole chief of staff's gun

Court approves plea bargain with Qalansawe convicted of attempted arms dealing and illegally bearing arms. Relative of main suspect, Louis Mascotta, convicted of aggravated robbery and aiding arms trafficking

The Tel Aviv District Court approved a plea bargain Thursday with two men involved in the theft of Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi's weapon and credit card details.


Rakez Shalabia of Qalansawe was convicted for conspiring to commit a crime, attempted arms trafficking, illegally bearing arms, and attempted illegally bearing arms. A family member of the main suspect in the affair, soldier Louis Mascotta, was convicted in the bargain for conspiring to commit a crime, aiding arms trafficking, and aggravated robbery.


Judge Khaled Kabub ordered probation services to submit reviews of the two indicted men before prior to issuing their sentence.


The trial of the soldier at the center of the affair is still underway in the military court. In the coming days, the evidentiary stage of the trial will start. His judges recently rejected his lawyers' request to hold the hearings in civil court.


According to the original indictment issued against the two, Mascotta and Shalabia, 20, worked together as butchers in Raanana. At a certain point, they worked with another young man named Hamudi Majadele. After Mascotta enlisted in the IDF, he contacted Majadele on a number of occasions and offered to steal various weapons for him.


The indictment says that Majadele and the soldier conspired to steal weapons from the IDF. In this context, Majadele picked up the soldier and his family member in his car and took them to Tel Aviv's Kirya military base. He handed them a bag containing a knitted cap, pepper spray, and gloves in order to rob the soldiers servicing on the base.


When they arrived at the Kirya base, Mascotta and the relative got out of the car, and Hamudi waited for the two to return to make a getaway. On this specific occasion, the two did not carry out their plans because the site was crowded with people.


Regarding the gun stolen from the chief of staff's office, the indictment claims that Shalabia offered Mascotta NIS 4,000 (about $1075) for the gun. The soldier allegedly accepted the offer and stole the gun. Mascotta then brought the gun to their place of work. A few days later, Shalabia discovered that the gun was not in working condition and demanded his money back from the soldier.


The attempt to repay the debt led to the theft of a rifle belonging to one of the soldiers guarding the base and severe assault on the soldier. Mascotta and the relative wore knitted caps and beat the guard with a large rock until he lost consciousness. They then fled the scene.


A day later, the soldier offered Shalabia the rifle in exchange for NIS 10,000 (about $2,700). Shalabia consulted another person in order to receive authorization to carry out the deal and then purchased the weapon for NIS 6,000 (about $1,600).


Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 03.18.10, 12:26
 new comment
This will delete your current comment