Real police officers from Prague detained two fake police officers suspected of robbing a guest of approximately 2,000 euros at a hotel in Rybalkova Street in Prague 10. The name of the hotel was not disclosed.
The victim, identified only as a foreigner, called the police emergency line to report that two men had arrived in his room shortly after midnight. One of the robbers had a “Europolice Federation” badge and ID, and on the pretext of a police inspection told the victim to put everything he had on the bed.
The victim complied, and after the robbers left the room, the victim found much of his cash was gone.
The police officers began to investigate the case and found that one of the suspicious men was still in the hotel and detained him. The police got a description of the accomplice and information that he was likely on Wenceslas Square. There, the police followed him and detained him with the stolen cash.
“One of the detainees was a taxi driver, who drove the victim to the hotel in the evening and noticed that he was carrying a large amount of money. Therefore, the driver agreed with his accomplice to stage a police check with the intention of robbing the foreigner,” Municipal Police spokeswoman Violeta Siřišťová said.
The arrested pair, aged, 25 and 28, ended up in a police station on suspicion of fraud, for which they face up to two years in prison if convicted. The money that the foreigner lost was returned to him. The case happened at night from Friday to Saturday, August 16–17.
Siřišťová added that you can identify a police officer in civilian clothes by a service badge with an identification number, a service card that contains the photo of the police officer, and the verbal statement “police.” Undercover officers, for obvious reasons, are exempt form having to identify themselves.
Prague taxi drivers have long had a bad reputation for overcharging, especially for newly arrived tourists who are not familiar with the currency or exchange rates. Earlier this summer, one charged a record 7,500 CZK for a 400 CZK trip, which is possibly a record.
But returning to the hotel where a passenger was dropped off and robbing them with a fake badge seems to be new turn of events.
Last year, the city of Prague carried out a total of 844 taxi inspections, and found instances of overcharging in 30 of them. The average amount of overcharging was 398 CZK.
The city issued 39 fines last year to local taxi drivers for overcharging. The average fine was for 62,000 CZK, adding up to a total of 2.5 million CZK.
To remove some of the incentive to cheat, taxi rates are likely to go up, as drivers say the current rates do not cover expenses.