Helicopter heist: millions offered as reward for tips

Stockholm police have received more than 300 tips from the general public in connection with the helicopter heist in Västberga on Wednesday. Security firm G4S has offered a 7 million kronor ($1 million) reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Helicopter heist: millions offered as reward for tips

According to Ulf Göranzon at Stockholm police an “arrest could be just around the corner but could also occur later.” He is however certain that the police will find the perpetrators of the audacious robbery.

“Of course we will (find them), sooner or later,” he said.

The police have appealed for information from other countries and are continually exchanging details via Interpol and Europol.

“This is not exceptional for this case, this is done on a daily basis,” Göranzon pointed out.

Despite the wave of information coming in from sources around the city, the police have appealed for more information from the public.

Of particular interest is information about the helicopter’s movements before and after the robbery.

The Swedish police have assigned 100 officers to work with the case.

The main part of the investigation is currently to sort through the wealth of information provided by the public in the hope of finding clues to lead the police to the gang.

Göranzon rejected the implication that the police have not managed to turn up any concrete leads in the case and responded that at this stage of the investigation it is best not to publicise any information gathered.

Göranzon was unwilling to comment on media reports that a gang consisting of organized criminals from the former Yugoslavia was behind the attack.

“We do not intend to limit ourselves to these type of allegations so early in the investigation, we plan to work broadly and without presumptions. We have also seen these types of crimes undertaken by people who live in Sweden.”

Jerzy Sarnecki, a professor in criminology at Stockholm University, believes that the chances of catching the robbers, who he thinks are Swedish, are decent.

“Those that have planned this robbery are very often those that are actually involved, partly because they are capable of it, partly because it is the most rewarding psychologically, and finally because they want to keep control over their investment.”

Sarnecki points out that serious robberies are usually solved in 50 percent of cases.

“In this case the chances are perhaps slightly higher as there are so many involved. It increases the chances of doing something stupid, like starting to spend the money or to get drunk and talk.”

Sarnecki also pointed out that as the case represents such an enormous loss of prestige for the Swedish police, massive resources will be allocated in the hunt for the gang.

As for the money swiped in the heist, Sarnecki predicts the chances of recovering any of the funds to be very slight.

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Helicopter heist trial closes in Stockholm

The court trial of the ten men charged with the dramatic helicopter heist on a cash depot in southern Stockholm last September wrapped up on Wednesday, a judge in the case confirmed.

Helicopter heist trial closes in Stockholm

“We finished today,” judge Catarina Barketorp of the Södertörn district court told AFP, adding the verdict would be rendered on October 7th.

The court in July charged 10 men on suspicion of aggravated theft and aggravated robbery in connection with the storming of a banknote storage facility in Västberga on September 23rd 2009.

A 31-year-old man charging with playing a role in the spectacular robbery on August 9th admitted to involvement. The other nine suspects all maintain their innocence.

A stolen helicopter landed on the roof of the G4S security firm depot and three armed men smashed their way into the building through the atrium window on the roof.

The robbers then deployed explosives to blast open a series of doors and make their way in to the depot’s cash reserves.

After 20 to 25 minutes, the men loaded up the helicopter and disappeared.

The first of the men and a section of the loot were deposited in the Draget district in the Norsborg suburb, before a second drop-off was made at Kaananbadet beach in the Bromma area.

The abandoned helicopter was later found in Skavlöten to the north of Stockholm.

Only 56,000 kronor ($7,793) of the reported 39 million kronor ($5.3 million dollars cash stolen by the thieves has since been recovered.