Two Romanians nabbed for 40 Valais robberies

In a case the Swiss press is using to illustrate Switzerland’s growing problem with break-ins, two Romanians, aged 40 and 23, were arrested in Valais for committing at least 80 known robberies.

Cantonal police estimated the value of the stolen booty — including jewellery, household appliances and cash — at more than 400,000 francs ($428,000).

Investigators were able to track down the culprits after one of them was asked by police for his ID while cycling in the Fully region.

The man attempted to flee but was arrested, cantonal police said on Thursday.

An initial search uncovered stolen jewelry and a screwdriver while an investigation showed that he was implicated in other break-ins.

Detectives subsequently learned that the man was aided by an accomplice.

The known robberies occurred between  October 2011 and February 2012 in 16 places in and around Martigny.  

The robbers broke into villas and apartments and on two occasions stole cars used to commit further burglaries, police said.

In addition to the stolen goods, the pair are held responsible for damage estimated at several tens of thousands of francs.

The oldest of the two men was sent back to Romania after spending several months in detention, police said.

The younger man is still being detained, police said.

An investigation into the case was undertaken by justice authorities from the French-speaking part of Valais.

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CERN ski club members injured in avalanche

Two members of the ski club of the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) were in critical condition on Sunday after an avalanche swept them and two colleagues down a mountainside in the canton of Valais, media reports said.

CERN ski club members injured in avalanche
Photo: Valais cantonal police

The incident occurred at around 11am when a group of five mountaineering skiers were heading down the north slope of the Pointes de Tsavolire, a 3,026-metre mountain, Valais cantonal police said in a statement.

The avalanche carried away four of the skiers, the statement said.

The fifth skier was able to dig out two of them, who were slightly injured, police said.

Emergency rescue workers from the Maison du Sauvetage and Air Glaciers found the other two, buried beneath more than 2.5 metres of snow.

They were transported by helicopter separately to hospitals in Lausanne and Sion for treatment of critical injuries, police said.

Marcel Délèze, guardian of the Becs de Bosson mountain hut, told local newspaper Le Nouvelliste, that the skiers were members of the CERN ski club.

He said they had earlier left the village of Eison in the Val d’Hérens.

Police said they were heading toward another valley, the Vallon de Réchy, south of Sierre, when the avalanche struck.

“In seeing that a sheet (of snow) had let go on this face, I called for help and then went to the site with people present in the hut,” Délèze said.

“We localized the skiers before the emergency services arrived but some were under three metres of snow,” he told Le Nouvelliste.

“To free them took a lot of time.”

The ages of the victims, reportedly Swiss citizens, were not disclosed.

Elsewhere, in the canton of Schwyz, a 31-year-old man died after falling 100 metres while hiking in steep terrain on the Rigi-Hochflue, a steep mountain overlooking Lake Lucerne near Lauerz, police said.

Other hikers discovered the man, a resident of the canton of Zug, in a seriously injured condition on Sunday around noon.

He was transported by helicopter to hospital where he died in the afternoon, Schwyz cantonal police said.