The latest in a series of cash transit robberies in Sweden began just after 4am. Two cars brought the vehicle to a halt and at least two masked robbers jumped out, firing several shots into the air with their automatic weapons.
When the guards had left the vehicle, the robbers used explosives to force it open.
“The robbers were extremely brutal in their approach,” said the police officer leading the investigation, Lars Bröms.
According to TT’s reporter on the scene, the vehicle was split completely open by the blast and the roof landed some 20 metres away.
After the explosion the robbers set fire to one of their cars and headed south in the other.
“We still don’t know if they got away with any money,” said police press spokesman Björn Engström.
The escape vehicle was later found burning outside the railway station in Vagnhärad.
Police nationwide are on alert and several helicopters are taking part in the hunt for the robbers. Officers from Stockholm and Södermanland have been called in.
“We have large numbers of police stationed at key points over a wide area, both in forests and out on the roads, and we have put up road blocks,” said Henrik Billstam at Stockholm police’s control centre.
The guards were taken to Södertälje hospital where they are being interviewed by police. They are physically unharmed but said to be in shock.
The last raid on a security vehicle in November prompted a walkout from guards, whose union demanded increased security. After a weekend where cash machines ran low and stores accumulated cash, the Swedish Work Environment Authority tightened the regulations concerning cash transits.
“There are three things we’ve been able to do since then,” said Stefan Wikman at Securitas.
“We have increased the variations of these transits. We have reduced the amount we carry on each transit and we have installed more technical equipment in the vehicles.”
He did not say whether the van raided on Friday had the new equipment installed.
“The measures I’ve described were part of what was agreed with the authorities and the unions. I hope that everyone realises this is the best we could do in such a short space of time,” he said.