Hostage in Stockholm ?belt bomb? drama

There appear to be few clues to the identity of three men who strapped explosives to a hostage before making off with 1.3 million crowns from a Stockholm bureau de change on Wednesday.

Police have been questioning the 25-year old hostage, to try to piece together the events leading up to the robbery. The drama caused a major bomb scare on Wednesday morning on one of Stockholm’s busiest streets, just 100 metres from Konserthuset, the venue for last week’s Nobel Prize ceremony.

The man told police that when he returned home on Tuesday night his girlfriend was there with three unknown men. On Wednesday morning, he says, the men strapped explosives to his body and took him to the Exchange Center bureau de change on Sveavägen, where he works. His girlfriend, aged 37, was left tied up in their home in Tumba, on the outskirts of the capital.

According to DN, the assailants took two boxes of money containing about 1.3 million crowns before fleeing the scene, leaving the man free to take off the bomb and call the police, with help from the bureau’s security guards.

The hostage and his girlfriend were still being questioned by the police on Wednesday evening. Police say that the 25 year-old is not a suspect, and that both he and his girlfriend are shocked but physically unharmed.

Sveriges Radio also reported on Wednesday afternoon that the belt worn by the hostage did not contain explosives.

The scare caused traffic chaos around Sveavägen and Hötorget, one of Stockholm’s busiest shopping and office areas. The area was sealed off, and Hötorget subway station was closed for several hours.

“We have no leads on the assailants,” police spokesman Ulf Göranzon told Svenska Dagbladet, adding that they would “question the employee more thoroughly to get the most detailed picture we can of events.” He added that the guards from the bureau de change would also be questioned.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen, Aftonbladet,