Phone: (850) 245-0150
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
West Palm Beach, Florida
For Immediate Release
March 4, 1999
Contact: Special Agent Supervisor Mike Washam, FDLE
or Cynthia Gelmine Imperato, Assistant Statewide Prosecutor
Statewide Prosecutor Melanie Ann Hines and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Tim Moore today announce the filing of charges and arrests of an 18 member eastern European organized crime group consisting of the following individuals in the Chicago area: Dragan Denikov, 41, of Park Ridge, Illinois, Kolja Denikov, 18, of Park Ridge, Illinois, Lidi Denikov, 39, of Park Ridge, Illinois, Maria Djenisov, 26, of Riverwoods or Park Ridge, Illinois, Milika Dobobrov, 60, of Niles, Illinois, Ali Ivanov, 20, of Skokie, Illinois, Kathy Konstantinov, 26, of Lincolnwood, Illinois, Ruza Kuznikov, 21, of Chicago, Illinois, Michael Konstantinov, 27, of Lincolnwood, Illinois, Milan Konstantinov, 54, of Lincolnwood, Illinois, Angelo Moro, 49, of Riverwoods, Illinois, Aranka Moro, 22, of Park Ridge or Riverwoods, Illinois, Dragon Moro, 20, of Riverwoods, Illinois, Sali Moro, 41, of Riverwoods, Illinois, Bato Petrov, of Park Ridge, Illinois, Mila Pavlov, 42, of Park Ridge, Illinois, Mara Pavlov, 44, of Lincolnwood, Illinois, and Helen Moro, 23, of Riverwoods, Illinois.
The charges, which include Racketeering, Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering, Burglary and Grand Theft, stem from a two year long investigation conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, in conjunction with the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Tampa Police Department, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the National Association of Bunco Investigators (NABI), the Illinois State Police and the Skokie Police Department in Skokie, Illinois. These cases are store diversion crimes as practiced by groups of ethnic Yugoslavian gypsies based in the greater Chicago, Illinois area. The usual practice is for a large group of individuals to gradually invade a business and distract store employees while others act as lookouts. When the store employees are distracted, others within the group break into the cash room, office or cash register and remove all of the money. This group is also suspected in at least 30 other store diversion crimes in which the store video was stolen as well.
This investigation began with a store diversion, which took place on January 16, 1996, at a Quick Stop in Palm Beach County where a videotape of the theft was obtained and inquiries were made around the state for related crimes. It was then discovered that similar crimes occurred in Pinellas, Orange and Hillsborough counties, specifically, at Choice Foods in Clearwater, a Winn-Dixie in Lake Worth, a 7-Eleven in Orlando and at the Borinquen Meat Market in Tampa. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement contacted Detective Gary Nolte of the Skokie Police Department, who is considered an expert in the area of gypsy investigations, and it was determined that the suspects resided in Illinois and Detective Nolte was able to provide positive identification of the suspects. The Skokie police further revealed that the 18 individuals are related and reside together in several homes throughout the metropolitan area of Chicago, Illinois. This group collectively uses approximately 137 aliases in order to avoid capture and continue with their crime spree throughout the eastern United States.
For additional information contact Cynthia Gelmine Imperato, Assistant Statewide Prosecutor, at (954) 712-4950, or Special Agent Supervisor Mike Washam, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, (561) 640-2840.