Police were already watching suspects in Panorama attack
The police had information that a serious crime was being planned shortly before the building housing Panorama's editorial offices in Amsterdam was shot at with a rocket launcher in June. When the attack happened, the police were already keeping an eye on some of the important suspects, Het Parool reports.
Three men connected to motorcycle gang Caloh Wagoh are suspected of involvement in firing the anti-tank weapon at the building on Teleportboulevard on June 21st. According to the Public Prosecutor, 42-year-old Richard Z. played an important role in the preparation for the attack. Z. has a long criminal record and is president of the Caloh Wagoh chapter in Woerden.
Shortly before the attack, the police received information that Z. and others were preparing for a serious crime in the vicinity of Sloterdijk station, according to the newspaper. This information came from another police investigation. In that investigation, detectives were listening in on a telephone that was being used by Z. In one conversation Z.seemed to discuss the fastest way to get away from the office area at Sloterdijk station with someone else.
This information was not concrete enough for the police to determine that the Panorama building was the target of the attack. The building was not being watched when the rocket launcher was fired at it.
Z. was not in the area of the building when the attack happened. The Prosecutor believes Z. prepared the attack, but that Caloh Wagoh member 45-year-old John P. was the one to fire the anti-tank weapon, with the help of 25-year-old Mike van den B. Van den B.'s car was seen in the neighborhood around the time of the attack. P.'s DNA was found on the rocket launcher. Surveillance camera footage showed two perpetrators, one noticeably larger than the other. Van den B. is almost 2 meters tall, P. is more than a head shorter.
Both men deny any involvement in the attack. P.'s lawyer is confident that his client will be released soon. "The judiciary's proof is insufficient to establish my client's involvement", the lawyer said to Het Parool.
A police observation team was already monitoring Z. the afternoon before the attack. They saw Z.'s car and two men at the building on Teleportboulevard. The Prosecutor believes that B. and one of his accomplices were staking out the building, doing reconnaissance. The Prosecutor also finds it suspicious that after the building was shot at, Z. was heard saying in a telephone conversation: "Pappie has done his thing".
Richard Z. also denies any involvement in the attack.
So far little is known for the motive behind the attack. No one was injured, but considerable damage was done to the building.
While the building also houses other companies, Panorama seems to be the most obvious target. It regularly publishes stories about the feud in the Amsterdam-Utrecht underworld and other serious crimes. Members of Caloh Wagoh have been linked with a number of serious violent crimes, including at least one underworld assassination, according to the newspaper.