Albanian airport heist: armed gang stole £10m from Austrian plane

April 11, 2019 | Brainwave Science

Albanian airport heist: armed gang stole £10m from Austrian plane


An armed gang has reportedly stolen 10 million Euros from an Austrian Airlines passenger jet preparing to take off at the Albanian airport in Tirana, the capital of Albania, in a deadly heist in which one robber, suspected gang leader, was shot dead by law enforcement personnel.

According to Euro news, four armed men “posing as tax investigators” pulled up in a van on the airstrip at Tirana International Airport as the money was loaded onto an Austrian Airlines plane for transportation to a bank in Vienna. Witnesses testified that three robbers forced the pilots to lie on the floor and stole money. This Albanian airport has been targeted by organized crime gangs before.

Police stated, “The perpetrators exchanged fire with the police during the chase in a secondary road and one of them lost his life in the exchange.”

The dead man, identified as Admir Murataj, was the mastermind of at least four robberies of bank money transports since 2015 and was the leader of Tirana airport heist. Police seized an assault weapon, a grenade and magazines of bullets for him. Elite police aided by a helicopter were giving chase to at least three of his accomplices still on the loose. Police confirmed a sum of money has been stolen but did not give details. Reports initially said a sum of 1.7 million pounds being stolen, but later said it might be five times as much (8.5 million pounds)

Albania’s Elite force suspects that the armed gang had inside knowledge of the cash cargo that had been loaded on to the plane ahead of its flight to Vienna. They have staged such heists at least two more times in the last three years at the airport. The robbery was so perfectly planned that it lasted three or four minutes only. The search for the remaining robbers is being conducted, approximately 500 policemen and helicopters are being used in the operation. A burned-out car was allegedly found near the Tirana, supposedly belonging to the gang.

Albanian Police have arrested four people and questioned 40 others, including airport security workers, following the incident. Albania’s Deputy Prime Minister Erion Brace praised the police and said the robbers were from “one of the most dangerous gangs” in the country. He further added police had “eliminated the leader” and were pursuing the rest of the gang, saying all the robbers had been identified.


Albanian Defence Minister Olta Xhachka along with Interior Minister Sander Lleshaj deployed military police and the troops to guard the country’s international airport and criticized the Chinese company, Everbright Limited (CEL) that runs the Tirana International Airport of “persistent irresponsibility”.

It is important for Albanian government and law enforcement agencies to identify the recurring threat from the vast organized crime spread across the region. Treat the problem rather than the symptom. Organized crime has long been a serious issue in Albania, growing more sophisticated after the fall of communism as state institutions strengthened. These networks of criminal organizations are regularly involved in drug trafficking, extortion, bribery, money laundering, prostitution, and human trafficking.

Albanian Deputy Prime Minister Erion Brace said the robbers were from “one of the most dangerous gangs” in the country. They have been behind various crime and raids on cash transfers to Vienna. Such as almost 1 million euros were stolen in a raid in 2016 not far from the Albanian airport in this case. Then in February 2017, the same gangs stole $3.6 million. Question is how they get such classified information about money transport and irrespective of CEL claims of upgrading the airport security since 2016 theft, how they get inside the airport premises?

As said, “dead man tells no tales”, the only option for law enforcement agencies to recover the stolen money and identify the insider along with the robbers and other key members of the Albanian organized crime syndicate with an assurance that no innocent would suffer in the process of intelligence-gathering. Albanian Police have arrested four people and questioned 40 others but the pertinent question for law enforcement personnel is how we know what they are told is the truth? Secondly is there a means to confirm if the person is nor being forthright and is hiding crime-related information from the investigators? Such precise intelligence cannot be gained with the use of existing conventional investigate tools which include suspect interviews or Polygraph/Lie-Detector test opted by law enforcement. The world today is in desperate need of a non-intrusive, affordable and efficient technology with nearly perfect accuracy ratings.


A technology that can directly match crime-related information directly from a suspect’s or perpetrator’s brain with nearly perfect accuracy has finally been developed by Brainwave Science and it’s called iCognative. Through iCognative, law enforcement investigators can identify or exonerate subjects based upon measuring brain-wave response to crime-related words, phrases, and photos displayed on a computer screen. This technology guarantees an accurate result and reveals specific crime-related information possess by foot-soldiers/robbers and supports Albanian police to reverse-engineer gained information to strike a deadly blow until the whole network of organized crime is destroyed. This groundbreaking forensic tool, iCognative is an ingenious way to uncover whether a suspect possesses relevant information to solve the crime – or not.

While technological advancements have created room for better criminals, the police don’t have nearly enough resources to catch crooks to any meaningful extent. As a result of insufficient evidence and the lack of time and resources to collect it, the response to crime is often slow and inadequate. Same is the challenge faced by the Albanian government and law enforcement agencies. Now, is the perfect time for Albanian law enforcement personnel to elevate the existing technology that serves less and make room for an advanced neuroscience-based technology capable enough to provide immediate results with an assurance that no innocent would suffer in the process. iCognative by Brainwave Science is a truly disruptive technology which could identify the perpetrator from innocent and further reveals what specific crime-related information he/she possesses with almost 100% accuracy within an hour. iCognative reveal precise information from the suspect’s brain, necessary for law enforcement personnel to locate the money, identify the arrest the insider/s aiding organized crime and locate the robbers and mastermind of the organized crime networks. What is the science behind this? Simple, this fully automated technology relies only on the reactions from the human brain, called P300, which cannot be consciously controlled by the perpetrator, thus by default, false positives and false negatives are eliminated. It minimizes chances of human error, in terms of perpetrators or investigator to zero.

Solving the Tirana airport heist is an urgent need for Albanian law enforcement agencies, therefore, they must employ iCognative technology to address this uphill battle. In this case, all the necessary crime-related information could be accessible and verified with almost perfect accuracy once a 45-minutes to an hour iCognative test is conducted by law enforcement personnel. iCognative test is a non-invasive test and respects human rights. Four arrested people and 40 others interviewed can all be requested to take iCognative test to assist law enforcement in their investigative work. Information such as location of the money, identification of the mastermind behind this heist, robbers involved, how they obtained confidential information about money transport, identity of the insider involved, linked to organized crime networks, details of previous heist or crimes, etc., would be easily available to law enforcement agencies to investigate this case in the right direction and further use the information obtained from iCognative test to reverse-engineer and find the mastermind and other known and unknown members of organized crime networks.

Details related to a case at hand and previous heist details like the ones reported in  2016 and 2017 are uploaded by an investigative team member into the iCognative system. Investigating this case using iCognative technology enables law enforcement personnel to verify the testimonies at a fast pace and determine what specific crime-related information suspect possesses or is trying to conceal by analyzing the pattern of a specific brain response called P300. The use of this modern technology like iCognative can save time, money and efforts for law enforcement officers, making room for a new, more efficient method of finding criminal proof. For decades, the Albanian government has invested in resources for law enforcement personnel to increase their capabilities to fight and prevent crime, it’s time to give iCognative a chance. With the presence of Brainwave Science’s iCognative in the security market, Albanian and other nations fighting the war on organized crime is on. It’s time for criminals to fear.

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South China Morning Post