The two guards were forced out of the van after a car braked rapidly in front of it and the attackers approached them with automatic weapons. Before the robbers escaped they set fire to the two vehicles and fired shots at police and eyewitnesses. Nobody was injured.
The incident happened just before 11pm on Arlandaleden. A burning car found later in Sigtuna is thought to have been used in the escape but on Saturday morning the robbers were still on the run.
“One of my police cars with two officers got there first and stopped a short distance away. Then they were shot at. But there was no damage, either to the police or the cars. The robbers probably wanted to make a point,” said Arlanda police duty officer Barry Gunnarsson.
The attackers managed to break into the security vehicle and took several boxes.
Two guards from transport company G4S were in the vehicle. According to the company’s managing director Leif Svensson, they were shocked but not physically harmed.
“The vehicle was blown up. It is split open and buckled. It looks like the attackers were able to get into the van,” he said.
A major police operation was launched with officers from both Stockholm and Uppsala forces. But Leif Svensson criticised the police’s role:
“I question why the police didn’t have better control. We have been forced by the authorities to make big changes but it doesn’t help if there are people with automatic weapons and explosives.”
The vehicle that was targeted had picked up a consignment from Arlanda but Svensson would not say how much money was in the truck. He said, however, that the robbers could not have taken much cash since the vehicle was equipped with a security system.
In July of last year another vehicle from G4S was attacked in a similar fashion outside Arlanda.
“Then they didn’t get away with a single krona,” said Svensson.
A 19-year-old man who was on his way home from working at Arlanda witnessed the incident. He was on the sliproad to the E4 motorway when he saw a burning car. Other cars had stopped and he got out of his car.
“Suddenly a man in black clothes appeared behind the burning car. He had an automatic weapon and began shooting in the air. Everyone screamed and ran away,” he said.
Arlanda airport handles major secure transports of gold and cash every day. Police escort the transports in and out of the airport and sometimes as far as the Arlandaleden stretch of motorway. That was not the case on Friday night, according to Barry Gunnarsson, when the raid happened two kilometres from where police left the vehicle.