Amsterdam man gets 10 years for drugging, robbing gay men

Paleis van Justitite, Arnhem
Andre Schaller's "Judgment of Solomon" in front of the courthouse in Arnhem, Gelderland. Sept. 16, 2010 (photo: Annemarie85 / Wikimedia)Andre Schaller's "Judgment of Solomon" in front of the courthouse in Arnhem, Gelderland. Sept. 16, 2010 (photo: Annemarie85 / Wikimedia)

An Amsterdam man was found guilty on Tuesday of drugging three gay men, then stealing their debit cards. The court in Arnhem said the thefts were of a "professional and sophisticated manner," and sentenced the "very calculating perpetrator" to a total of ten years in prison after also finding him guilty of robbing eight other men without debilitating them.

One of the drugged men, a 53-year-old Apeldoorn man, was found dead lying face down with his face buried in a pillow following his encounter with the suspect. The prosecutor accused the Amsterdammer of causing the death by delivering a high dose of scopolamine, which dulled the victim’s reflexes to the point where he could neither move nor awaken when he had trouble breathing.

It prompted the prosecutor’s office to demand 16 years in prison for the crimes. A five-year sentence was called for against his alleged accomplice from Bussum.

The court acquitted the suspect in the suffocation death. The pathologist team investigating the death testified it could not be 100 percent certain the drugging caused the breathing problem.

Prosecutors said the two other drugging victims were “lucky” to have escaped serious injury. Ten others were robbed, but the court was not convinced of guilt in two of those cases.

Investigators said the men were targeted on gay dating sites. The defendant would use the date to figure out a PIN code, sometimes by using a camera hidden on an ATM.

Tens of thousands of euro was siphoned directly from the accounts once the debit cards were stolen. The prosecutor said house keys were also swiped in order to break into the scam victims’ homes.

The Amsterdammer’s alleged accomplice was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in five of the incidents. Police found about 48,000 ecstasy pills when the Bussum man, 36, was arrested in his home.

In making their demand, the public prosecutor took into account prior convictions. The older defendant was previously sentenced for property crimes and violent crimes, and has a high chance of recidivism, the prosecutor said.

The younger accomplice was also previously convicted of property crimes, the prosecutor said. In sentencing him, the court also noted his prior drug offenses.

Both men were ordered by the court to pay compensation to their victims.