Police “hopeful” in hunt for highway robbers

As police continue to pick up the pieces following Monday's attack on a Securicor van in Stockholm, technical experts suggest that the robbers had little experience of explosives - and were lucky not to have blown themselves up as they raided the vehicle.

So far only one person has been arrested in the aftermath of the crime, which was one of Sweden’s most violent highway robberies. A team of around 50 police officers from the Södertörn station have been assigned to the case.

Up to 15 people are thought to have been involved in the crime and police sources have told Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter that detectives are focusing on the Tumba-based criminal network ‘Fucked For Life’.

The robbery appears to have been a professional operation, backed by significant resources. Ten cars were set on fire in the vicinity, smoke flares were set off and spikes were spread across roads, all in an apparently successful attempt to hold up the police.

But police technical experts say that the way in which the explosives were used suggests an element of amateurism.

“Professional robbers want to cut a limited opening in the security vehicle’s vault, we’ve seen that in previous cases,” said Harras Kopsch, a senior technical officer at Stockholm police.

“But here the whole of the vehicle’s back section was blown sky high – which can’t exactly have been an advantage.”

Kopsch said that the police are working on the assumption that the robbers lacked any explosives training.

The guards had been forced away from the van and the robbers sheltered behind an electricity box before the explosion. Nevertheless, they were lucky to be able to continue with their operation, according to Kopsch.

“The robbers had no control over what happened,” he said.

The van was said to have contained up to 30 million kronor in cash destined to be destroyed. In such cases the serial numbers of the notes are not recorded – meaning they will be more or less impossible to trace.

While police think luck played a role, Expressen’s sources say that the evidence points to an insider at Securicor.

“Otherwise it’s extraordinary that they knew that this was carrying cash for destruction – such transport is irregular,” said the source.

And given that so many people were involved there must have been accurate information about the route and timing of the Securicor vehicle’s journey.

Having already caught one of those involved, a 20 year old who drove his motorbike directly at an unmarked police car, officers say they are optimistic about catching the rest of the gang.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen