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Eight charged over remote-control bank heist

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Eight charged over remote-control bank heist
13:14 CEST+02:00
The men were just moments away from carrying out one of the most brazen and largest robberies ever in Sweden.

At the last second, the thieves attempt to remotely transfer millions of kronor from a Swedbank branch to a private account was thwarted by an alert staff member.

On Wednesday, eight men were indicted in Uppsala District Court on suspicions of attempted gross fraud and complicity in gross fraud.

The men are suspected of attempting to take money from the Swedbank branch in Knivsta near Uppsala on two occasions last autumn.

Exactly how much money was at stake has not been revealed, but according to the public prosecutor it is a very sizable sum.

“I'm happy saying a million, but it could be much more,” said prosecutor Thomas Bälter Nordenman.

The men are also suspected of preparing another heist at a Swedbank branch in Långshyttan north of Dalarna in central Sweden. The plan was to transfer 50 million kronor ($8.3 million) from the bank to a private account.

Using remote-control equipment placed under a desk of a bank employee at the Knivsta Swedbank branch, the men first attempted to transfer money in August of last year.

They had installed the equipment by breaking into the bank on an earlier occasion. The alarm never went off and nothing was stolen.

Free from any disturbance, the men were then able to mount the remote-control equipment under the desk.

The equipment was discovered several weeks later when the bank employee noticed that the mouse-pointer on his computer screen was moving even though he was not using it.

When the employee inspected his computer and desk, he saw that a piece of remote-control equipment had been connected to his computer.

He immediately pulled out the computer's plug, and in so doing halted the transfer at the last second.

The prosecutor believes the attempted robbery should be seen as a warning and sees that the thieves' method of operation is very cunning and advanced.

“The men have spent time planning an advanced and dangerous crime which can also be directed at others who have computers with sensitive equipment. I'm warning other banks, authorities, and companies that they too could be targeted. My advice is that everyone should look under their desks to see what's there,” said Bälter Nordenman.

After the first unsuccessful attempt in August, the robbers tried again in December to carry out a new remote-control theft at the same bank in Knivsta.

Following a period under police surveillance, the men were finally arrested after a third robbery attempt at the end of January against the bank in Långshyttan.

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