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Gang of six held over violent jewellery heist

Published: 06 Jan 2013 11:36 GMT+01:00

One man in hospital with life-threatening gunshot wounds, five suspects detained and an unrecovered booty.

That was the outcome late Saturday of the large-scale police operation launched in response to a dramatic jewellery store robbery in a shopping mall in Södertälje, one hour south of Stockholm.

Swedish media report that the six suspects - five men and one woman - were part of a group of friends who all grew up in a suburb south of Stockholm. Some went to the same school and youth centre.

Click here more images from the scene

They have a history of criminal activity and some are school dropouts, according to newspaper Expressen's sources.

Friends and neighbours of the suspects told Expressen that at least three were errand-boys for older guys in the neighbourhood who are involved in crime.

They reportedly dreamed of a life of luxury and have cited Scarface and Swedish crime thriller Easy Money (Snabba cash) as their favourite movies.

At least four of the five male suspects, who are between 19 and 26 years old, have a criminal record.

The 21-year-old woman, who is the older sister of the youngest suspect, does not have a criminal record. She is being held on suspicion of assisting a violent robbery.

The oldest culprit, the 26-year-old man, is in critical condition after police shot him in the head when he and his accomplices tried to escape from the scene in a silver-coloured Audi.

The other robbers got away and drove over the 26-year-old who was dragged along the street a few metres.

When a call about the robbery came in at around 11.45am on Friday, civilian police officers rushed out of the police station near the shopping mall.

They engaged in a shoot-out with the armed robbers who wore masks and identical clothes.

The suspects had not been under surveillance and police had not received any tip-offs about the heist.

"It was pure coincidence that we were able to get to the location as quickly as we did," Lars Byström, a spokesman for the Stockholm police, told news agency TT.

After police had identified the injured robber, they could round up the other five suspects quickly as they knew which circle of people to prioritize in the chase.

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