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Hunt continues for helicopter robbers

TT/David Landes · 24 Sep 2009, 08:15

Published: 24 Sep 2009 08:15 GMT+02:00

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So far no one has been arrested for direct involvement in the daring pre-dawn raid.

The two people arrested on Wednesday afternoon during the initial phases of the investigation are suspected of receiving stolen goods in crimes unrelated to the heist.

One of the men was released late Wednesday night, while the other remains in police custody. He was wanted for having failed to serve out the entirely of a previous prison sentence.

Police estimate that there are no more than 25 career criminals in Sweden capable of carrying out such a unique and professionally-executed robbery.

Officially, police don’t want to publicize exact estimates of how many people may have participated in the stunning heist.

“But we’re probably talking about a figure in the two digits,” said Christian Agdur of the Stockholm police.

Police intelligence units are now working furiously to determine how many of Sweden's most-capable criminals are currently out of prison, where they are, and whether or not there have been any rumours circulating in criminal networks about a major planned crime.

The possibility that the theft was an inside job is also being explored.

Police sources believe that one or several of the robbers likely had military training.

“The complicated logistics are comparable to something from the military. It’s not just anyone who can get themselves up and down in a helicopter like that. It requires something like infantry or operations training,” a police source told TT.

Meanwhile, police are facing criticism for the lax security at the Stockholm police heliport at Myttinge on Värmdö, a problem which has been known for at least a year.

The robbers were able to stay ahead of police in part by grounding police helicopters through placing a fake bomb in the entrance of the hangar.

Sten-Olov Hellberg, commissioner of the Dalarna County Police in central Sweden, submitted a report in June 2008 about police helicopter units around the country to the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen).

In the report, he criticized the security at Myttinge, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

“The helicopters are basically kept in a tent. As far as I can tell, the site isn’t manned around the clock,” he told DN.

He is highly critical of the security lapses, especially in light of a previous incident in which police helicopters had been shot at a hangar in Gothenburg.

The Stockholm police’s two helicopters are only at Myttinge on a temporary basis, according to Tommy Hydfors of the National Criminal Investigation Department (Rikskriminalpolisen).

Story continues below…

Following a 2002 fire at the previous hangar in Tullinge south of Stockholm, police have been unable to find a new permanent location to house the helicopters.

As a result, the temporary facilities at Myttinge haven’t been outfitted with the tougher security measures police would want at a permanent facility.

National Police Chief Bengt Svenson told Sveriges Television (SVT) that it’s not acceptable that the police’s helicopters weren’t better protected at the temporary base.

He has proposed moving them again to the Berga naval base in the Stockholm archipelago, a site where the helicopters had been placed previously.

“I think it’s the best place for us and I assume that after we have a conversation with the Supreme Commander, we’ll be able to go back there,” said Svenson.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:41 September 24, 2009 by Luckystrike
....and so the finger pointing begins...

This is funny "Officially, police don't want to publicize their estimates of how many people may have participated in the stunning heist.

"But we're probably talking about a figure in the two digits," said Christian Agdur of the Stockholm police."

If it's "probably" in the two digit range, then they abviously are thinking, 10-15....hehe....but they dont want to publicize their estimates! Funny people!
08:58 September 24, 2009 by jack sprat
""Police intelligence units are now working furiously""

......Well at least that must be a first anyway!

Dont seem to have much of a clue about anything,...obviously the early arrests they announced were a red herring to try and reduce their embarrasment.

No mention yet of the figure involved.

Is it so big they dare not tell?

Not much point keeping it secret, other than to avoid further embarassment.
09:23 September 24, 2009 by izbz
Come on , give them a break!!! If it is so easy as you guys comment!!! just try to figure out yourself. How many working on the outside and how many exactly on the helicopter? Is there planning from the inside?

What do you expect the Swedish police to do? Go to a medium? Maybe the police in your country is smarter than ours, or maybe you are smarter.

Next time before giving comment, justify!!!!!!
09:40 September 24, 2009 by Luckystrike
The police in South Africa are murderers, extortionists and thieves...by comparison, the Swedish police ´would be equal to the CIA.

We're just having some fun with this, dont worry.
10:05 September 24, 2009 by Texrusso
I Think they should consult some voodoo Oracle. At times like the Swedish Police will need all kinds of help including spiritual and psychic power--- lol :-)
10:18 September 24, 2009 by Rick Methven
Maximum capacity of the Bell 206B helicopter used is 1 pilot plus 4 passengers. So that means at least another 5 on the ground.
10:19 September 24, 2009 by lalb
Thanks God. Bush is not heading Sweden. otherwise he might say "Al-Qaeeda" is behind this heist. Lolzzzz
10:43 September 24, 2009 by mac_007
its like an another bank in sweden.. who knows what they took . It must be done by some ex-Security officers and high officials.
10:49 September 24, 2009 by this_aint_sparta
Swedish police should hire ex QPark employees, Damn they are good at finding the most remotest of car withoout the P-skriva.
11:07 September 24, 2009 by boby
@ lalb

You are actually not far from the truth. It has been already prooved before that terrorist organization use criminal activity to finance their operations.
11:49 September 24, 2009 by DougJenkins
The cops should have shot the helicopter or the robbers for that matter when they had the chance. They practically watched them load the helicopter and take off. I don't understand. Then there's only two police helicopters in Stockholm? Wow. Sounds like somebody mismanaged, someone's tax $$$. Protection should be a priority!
11:55 September 24, 2009 by Internuncio
Thursday 23 September 2009

Dear Editors at "The Local,"

Hi and thank you very much for your continuing coverage of the helicopter heist even if I couldn't care less.

What ticked me off was that the police helicopters were left unguarded when not in use. Luckily they weren't needed for anything of a serious nature such as looking for a child who had gone missing in the woods or transporting a burn victim.

Keep keeping safe and staying well. Maybe getting out of this country which all-too obviously is in the hands of morons would be a first step in that direction.

Yours, ever faithfully,

Thomas J. Corcoran, DALBY
11:57 September 24, 2009 by peropaco
Sounds like the work of Yugoslavian mafia or Brits. ;-D
12:17 September 24, 2009 by Nemesis
This robbbery remonds me of a robbery in Belfast some years ago by the IRA. The robbers in that case had to come back with a lorry to load the cash, there was so much of it. They did this in Belfast city centre, right under the noses of the authorities.

It is definately coming close to the same level of expertise as seen in the biggest robberies in Ireland, where there was significantly more security forces who were a lot better trained and more effective on the job. One Northern Ireland police officer would probably be more effective than the entire Stockholm police.

There really needs to be a hard look taken at the police in Sweden. Its entire structure, funding, control and oversight need to be changed, before even getting to recruitment and training changes.

A suggestion.

Get all the officers from An Garda Siochana Riot Squad in the Republic of Ireland, combined with ex-RUC special branch and the Police Service of Northern Ireland riot squad on secondement to Sweden for a year. Have the Israeli IDF train them to be more subtle. Then put them under direct control of a member of the Donegal An Garda Siochana, to patrol trouble hotspots which would quickly become very civilised and to hunt down and destroy organised crime.

I think that might be a start to cleaning up Sweden's law and order problem.
12:34 September 24, 2009 by DreEstwd
A question...What exactly is "failing to serve out the entirety of a previous prison sentence?" Did the prisoner just decide that his time was up and left the prison? LOL.
13:09 September 24, 2009 by christo
ooh boy. this is cash. we r talking about cash, l mean big money, ooh. it is going to be hard for the police to find these pple unless they use all excessive materials they have. but this l think involves alot of big pple. lol
13:47 September 24, 2009 by jonathanjames61
Two liitle birds came across the sea,flew so high to get their food,but the rest of the food was been carried on land by their master,It the riddle of the roberry,I can give the police a clue wher to look,few month ago,a hijacke took place off the shore of Sweden,that should have sound them a serious warning,but they just sat looking and drinking coffee,now the reminat of the group have strike again.So let them think,they will know where to focous,or cntact the Rusiian mafia,they will tell them.
14:23 September 24, 2009 by kunta
does the name KGB, CIA, or even SAPO rings a bell? Any of them is capable of pulling something like this.
16:47 September 24, 2009 by Snoopy!
Nice to see someone picked up on the "Typo" .

entirely should have read "entirety"

17:14 September 24, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Good thing Sweden has a ban on assault weapons! It could have been a disaster! *snort*
20:01 September 24, 2009 by jag2009
god this is stupid....
22:00 September 24, 2009 by Coalbanks
Maybe the cops done it? Movie upcoming? Or: Whatever happened to that guy who did the Bank Job in the UK in the 70's?
01:01 September 25, 2009 by soultraveler3
For DreEstwd

A question...What exactly is "failing to serve out the entirety of a previous prison sentence?" Did the prisoner just decide that his time was up and left the prison? LOL.

To answer your question

I believe that here in Sweden quite a few non-serious (non-felony) criminals serving prison sentences are allowed to have "free days."

From what I've been told these prisoners get to leave the jail to visit family, attend gatherings etc. and are only told to report back in the evening. No security required.

This also occurs at mental institutions.

In our town a man stabbed another man multiple times in the stomach but was deemed crazy and put into a mental instution. He too was allowed to leave and had a problem with coming back on time so the police were always picking him up and taking him back.

Maybe that's what they meant here.

This sounds crazy to me but I've been told by different people that it's true.
00:52 September 27, 2009 by DreEstwd
Wow. Thanks for the clarification, Soultraveler.
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