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Two helicopter heist thieves still at large

TT/AFP/The Local · 19 Jul 2010, 16:12

Published: 19 Jul 2010 09:46 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Jul 2010 16:12 GMT+02:00

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Up until now, the identity and whereabouts of the two suspects remain a mystery to police and the prosecution.

"Otherwise, we would of course have taken them too," district prosecutor Leif Görts told news agency TT.

Of the 39.16 million kronor ($5.33 million) stolen in the heist, only 100,000 kronor has been recovered in 500-kronor notes.

A handful of men have previously been detained in the case, but there was not enough evidence to prosecute them.

Ten men aged 23 to 38 are being prosecuted for the raid. At least twice as many are believed to have participated, but the police have been unable to arrest more and the involvement of others has not been proved.

Görts declined to comment on how many others had taken part in the heist. Five of the men who are detained will be prosecuted for aggravated theft and the other five for aiding and abetting.

"One can say that the five who were active in the acute phase will be prosecuted as perpetrators," said Görts.

Among those facing charges include two who were in the helicopter, one of which was the pilot. Another person carried out the sabotage against police helicopters in Myttinge in Värmdö northeast of Stockholm, while two were involved in blocking the streets and impeding accessibility to the police around the cash depot.

According to the prosecution, it will present evidence in the form of eyewitness accounts, surveillance videos, telephone tapping and DNA sufficient for convictions. In addition, there is evidence in both Swedish and Serbian telecommunications materials.

"With regard to the evidence, we have taken the view that there should be enough for a conviction," said prosecutor Björn Frithiof.

Görts would not comment on reports that the robbers had help from insiders inside the depot. He noted that the robbery was very unusual, not least in view of the approach.

"It was well planned and well implemented," said Görts.

The main planning for the crime took place in Sweden. However, police got wind of the plans from Serbian police a month before the robbery occurred. A Swedish investigation was initiated, primarily to try to prevent the crime.

The date the robbery had been planned for passed, so police helicopters, which had been moved to a safe area, returned to Myttinge.

The man previously known as Stockholm's gangster king, who now lives in Serbia, was involved in recruiting a pilot in Serbia. The pilot received an advance of 190,000 kronor, but later backed out. The issue of the pilot was resolved on home turf.

Lawyer Leif Silbersky represents a 35-year-old man who is accused of having stolen the helicopter used in the robbery, planning the travel route using GPS and flying the helicopter during the robbery, but the man denies the crime.

"My opinion is that the evidence does not have the strength and quality that the prosecution claims," said Silbersky. "The prosecution has invested a lot in quantity instead of quality as I might see it."

He added, "There is nothing pointing to my client, no one who has said he was involved. He is a helicopter pilot during the day, but he is not trained to fly at night."

According to Görts, the pilot was the only one who flew the helicopter, denying earlier reports that they had changed pilots.

"He is the one who misappropriated the helicopter and knows how to fly it," said Görts. "We have evidence that it is he who showed up at McDonald's in Täby 30 minutes after the helicopter had been dumped. I have difficulty seeing what other role he could have had - he is the pilot."

Story continues below…

Three masked, armed men were dropped onto the roof of the banknote storage facility by a helicopter in the early hours of September 23rd. The men then smashed a window and blasted their way through the building using explosives before exiting the building several minutes later with sacks

of cash.

The robbers carried out the raid in front of police and 21 workers present

in the centre. The police were hindered because a bag marked with the word "bomb" had been previously placed at the police helicopter base.

The thieves' helicopter, which was stolen shortly before the raid, was

recovered undamaged several hours later north of Stockholm.

The trial will take place over 18 days in Stockholm district court's security hall.

TT/AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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