renowned burglar-arrest

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- A 75-year-old serial burglar has been arrested on suspicion of breaking and entering an expensive home in Seoul's Gangnam area, police said Thursday.

Cho Se-hyeong -- known by some as the modern-day "Robin Hood" for having stolen only from the rich in the 1970s and 80s -- will be held in custody for allegedly entering an empty villa in Seocho Ward, local police said. He is suspected of attempting to steal money and 33 pieces of jewelry worth between 30 million and 50 million won (US$27,000 to $45,000).

Cho is thought to have entered the first floor of the villa around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, using a long pincer and pliers to break in through a window. A neighbor saw the shattered window and called the police, who arrested him 30 minutes later. Cho reportedly attempted to resist using a pen but gave up after seeing that the police were armed.

Police said Cho quickly admitted to the robbery, though they will proceed to request an arrest warrant to investigate whether he has committed other crimes.

The career burglar was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1982 for committing a dozen crimes, including special larceny, which by law subjects criminals to heavier sentences than usual.

Upon being released, Cho was thought to have become a born-again Christian but was again imprisoned after being caught in multiple cases of theft in Seoul and Tokyo.

He was last arrested in 2011 on suspicion of threatening and injuring a jeweler and his family to steal precious stones. The justice department at the time declared him innocent, saying it was unlikely that a man in his 70s with weak arms and legs would carry out such an act. A total of nine lay jurors had also unanimously ruled him not guilty.

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