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Burglars Nab $7M in Daring Theft

A team of enterprising thieves broke into a lawyer's eighth-floor apartment by rappelling down the side of a Moscow high-rise, where they pilfered cash and valuables worth 240 million rubles ($7.4 million), police said Monday.

A witness called police to report men carrying away valuables from the apartment at 18 Novolesnaya Ulitsa, near Belorusskaya metro station in central Moscow, in the early hours of Sunday.

Police said in a statement that officers arrived at the scene within three minutes of the call but didn't find the criminals.

The victim, 48-year-old lawyer Leonid Rozenblyum, contradicted the response time given in the statement, telling the Rapsi news agency that police took about eight hours to arrive.

"My neighbor saw at about 3 a.m. several people coming down a rope on the outside wall of the house," he said.

“The thieves took the valuables out through the windows, and the entrance door to the apartment was left untouched.”

The criminals were able to open a safe in Rozenblyum's apartment, making off with jewelry, documents, and $5.8 million and 750,000 euros ($920,000) in cash, according to police.

Rozenblyum said he knows who the crooks are but refused to elaborate.

"It's 100 percent premeditated, and I know who did it," he said, adding that a specific person was interested in certain documents that were taken.

It was unclear why Rozenblyum was storing so much cash at home and where it had come from.

Police were searching for the perpetrators.

Separately, Moscow police said Monday that they had apprehended a 27-year-old man for stealing 20 rubles (60 cents) from a 25-year-old victim after threatening him with a pistol-like item.

The man was arrested and will be charged with robbery, which carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison, police said in a statement.

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