By Kim Rahn
A corporate executive dressed in fancy clothes and drove a BMW during the daytime, but by night he operated as a burglar. This was the double life led by a 39-year-old man who robbed luxury mansions in the affluent Gangnam area in southern Seoul, police said, Monday.
Police said they arrested the man, identified as Kim, for committing 49 burglaries in Gangnam since September 2006 that netted him 10 billion won ($10 million) in cash and valuables. He has seven previous convictions.
Kim chose houses in luxury districts, where the lights were off or showed signs of being deserted when he threw stones at the windows, according to the police.
After each robbery, he evaded police checkpoints by leaving the crime scene in his BMW to throw off suspicion.
Kim's victims included a baseball player-turned-TV show host, who had 1.8 million won and imported luxury jeans stolen.
He kept the money in borrowed-name accounts and passed himself off among his neighbors as an executive working for a trading company.
Kim bought a Lexus for his live-in girlfriend and gave her 10 million won every month for living costs. Even she did not know that he was a burglar.
Although he had an apartment in southern Seoul under his girlfriend's name, Kim pretended to live in a shabby flat in Guri, Gyeonggi Province. ``He must have wanted to show that his crimes, if caught, were committed out of poverty. Theft due to poverty usually leads to a lenient ruling in court,'' a police officer said.
Police caught Kim following a report from a witness of his breaking into a house in Gangnam on April 29. They questioned him over how he got the keys to the BMW, and Kim confessed.
Police suspect he had accomplices who helped him sell stolen goods.