A group of five men were arranged to purchase a large amount of face masks from an underground black marketeer and when the intermediary arrived in his van with the protective masks hoping the sell off the whole lot, the five men posed as police and ordered him to hand over the entire goods for free.
When the person refused to hand over the face masks, the men pulled out guns and pushed him on the ground and threatened to fire if he doesn't hand over the car keys. Fearing his life, the man gave away the keys and the men loaded 100,000 masks into their van and drove away.
Police caught the culprits in just 2 days
The black marketeer informed the robbery to the Kiev police and the officers tracked them down in just a span of two days and took custody of the masks. The five armed thief's aged between 26 and 42, face custodial sentences of up to 10 years.
According to Ukrainian police, the masks had a street value of up to $1 million, as masks sold in the black market can go up to 20 times the price compared to the shop prices. The demand for masks have risen tenfold due to unavailability in regular stores and people are willing to shell out exorbitant prices to get their hands on it for safety reasons.
The black marketeer faces legal action too
Apart from the law hitting hard on the five armed robbers, the black marketeer is now facing legal action for hoarding face masks and Ukrainian prosecutors reported that the "victim" had spent close to a month buying masks from stores around the city and making it get off the shelf.
Fearing black marketeers might sell off face masks abroad for profits, the Ukrainian government has now introduced a ban on the export of all masks until June 2020 and will impose severe action if anyone is found guilty of sending them offshore.