Dramatic hold-up during biggest robbery in Czech history


On Monday three armed men held up a shell-proof vehicle carrying money from a Prague bank and stole more than 100 million crowns in what is described as the biggest robbery in Czech history. There are only a few clues - but the police have immediately started an investigation to track down the robbers. Alena Skodova reports:

Never before have robbers stolen so much money, and never before have they succeeded in kidnapping a shell-proof van with three guards onboard. The van, belonging to the Group 4 Securitas agency was carrying over 100 million crowns from a Citibank building located on a street leading to Prague airport, but it managed to go just a few dozen metres before being stopped by three men wearing black overalls and hoods on their heads. They threatened to use guns or explosives if the crew did not surrender.

If they did, they could have injured dozens of people, as there was heavy traffic on Evropska street at that time, and there were many people at a nearby tram stop. The robbers locked the crew in the rear of the van, and sat behind the steering wheel. They drove just a few kilometres to the outskirts of the city, loaded the money into a Volkswagen Golf car and disappeared.

The way the robbery was carried out shows that the robbers were professionals and that the whole action must have been well prepared. The only clue the police have is their burnt-down getaway car, which was found near the town of Beroun east of Prague two hours after the robbery.

Police are following several lines of inquiry - one of them is that the burnt-down car could be a red herring. The police say it seems that the robbers had inside information from someone working at Citibank, because such a huge sum is not transported from the bank every day. On the other hand, the Head of the Group 4 Securitas agency, Michal Fabera is convinced that such information could not have been leaked from his employees, because they never know how much money they are carrying.

But the case might not be so hopeless as it seems now. Czech police have investigated similar cases before and managed to resolve them.