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Santas steal gun from Swedish palace guard

TT/The Local · 24 Dec 2010, 11:47

Published: 24 Dec 2010 11:47 GMT+01:00

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Two men, dressed in Santa hats and masks, surprised and attacked the guard.

The men stole the guard's gun, which according to police was a loaded automatic weapon.

“This is serious. I have a hard time believing it is a prank. It might be premeditated,” said Anders Krook, station commander at the Norrmalm police.

Because the Royal Palace has been deemed an object to be protected (skyddsobjekt), guards are to have loaded weapons, Lieutenant Colonel Rickard Beck-Friis Häll told TT news agency.

After the incident on Thursday, they will review all of the regulations with the soldiers, including the level of force that the guards may use.

“We have the right to use the force that is necessary to defend ourselves and objects to be protected. In this case, we will review what happened,” Beck-Friis Häll said.

He emphasized that the event was extremely unusual and he has never hear of a similar incident during his 30-year-career.

At night, two guards are posted the Royal Palace , and they are both armed with an AK-5 with a bayonette. They are posted so that they are within sight of each other, according to Beck-Friis Häll.

Story continues below…

Since he doesn't know the details, he refrained from commenting on last night's event, but said there are procedures in place the guards are to follow in such situations.

“I don't know what level of force the robbers used and if they threatened, but firing a gun in the last course of action,” Beck-Friis Häll said.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:42 December 24, 2010 by Tanskalainen
Did the guard giggle and squeel with delight as these two rough Santas manhandled him? This reminds me of when the Serbs handcuffed Dutch soldiers to telephone poles and then proceeded to massacre the village the Dutch were supposed to be defending.
18:11 December 24, 2010 by babychuma
Yeesh, what a pansy.
19:38 December 24, 2010 by GLO
No supervision, weak policy, this is just NUTS... a girl with a knife could take over the Royal Palace. Wow....

Makes you feel safe if this is how the Govt takes care of the King, how do you peasants feel????
20:53 December 24, 2010 by mkvgtired
If someone is wrestling a loaded gun from you, I would think you would be justified to use deadly force. How was the guard supposed to know if the robbers were planning on using his weapon against himself. I guess if they caught him completely off guard he may not have been able to.
21:01 December 24, 2010 by charubun pananon
Perhaps the Santas might be the palace guards and they wanted to enjoy kidding with their colleagues.
22:29 December 24, 2010 by Nemesis

I love it.

So insane, it could only be in Sweden.
22:43 December 24, 2010 by darrenj
Something about this country you have to love. After 12 years I can't put my finger on it. Possibly need 12 more years.
23:24 December 24, 2010 by summer
its funny. any way. have been tracking santa. i read a post abot santa here

00:24 December 25, 2010 by Gamla Hälsingebock

No security cameras.

Where was the other guard?

Methinks there was some Jul cheer involved! LOL
00:51 December 25, 2010 by seagull
Actually this is pretty serious. If he wasn't capable of resisting 2 people stealing his loaded gun, he shouldn't be carrying one. He should have shot them both, preferably in a non-lethal manner.

Reminds me of a joke though... How do you get a clown off a swing? You smack him in the face with a shovel...I feckin hate clowns.(or santas)
03:27 December 25, 2010 by för30årseden
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
11:53 December 25, 2010 by johnny1939
Luckily the King has not lived in the Palace since 1981. The place has offices and is used for state galas etc. But it is strange that the guard cannot handle a threatning situation particularly in these times when they should be on high alert. Shame on the commanding Officers. They should be cashiered out!! But of course, that will never happen. The Germans had a saying "Dumme Schweden" long ago and it is still true!!!
17:34 December 25, 2010 by mikmak
An AK is a large assault rifle, it's as useful as a broomstick in a 2-to-1 grappling match. Of course if they are allowed to open fire at people approaching the guard without identifying themselves that would be an option, might have to live with a few dead tourists though...
18:29 December 25, 2010 by Kaethar
Mikmak is correct.

It's easy to see who the trigger-happy Americans on this board are. ;)
18:41 December 25, 2010 by Kevin Harris
Mikmak sums it up.

A bullet fired from an AK5 at close range will pass through its target, and most other things (including brick walls) before running out of ooomph. It is an entirely inappropriate weapon for a guard in the middle of Stockhom.

He might have had better use of it if he had turned it round and swung it like a club; or better still, given his attackers some cold steel. They don't like it up em.
21:20 December 25, 2010 by swedekk
mikmak and Kevin Harris is right, and I've personally been standing there with a loaded AK5.

We were more or less told not to fire since it's more or less impossible to guarantee that a third person not will be hit.

A bullet from a AK5 easily pass 4 inches of concrete.
03:31 December 26, 2010 by för30årseden
If they are not going to fire -- then it is an extremely stupid thing to give them the loaded weapon. It does make them a target. What happened is the natural result and probably a prank or a drunken dare.
11:45 December 26, 2010 by cmbsweden
"Trigger happy Americans" - Nice. No bias in your rant there huh?
13:17 December 26, 2010 by Rebel
Should there not be a Swedish solution to this? Why not give the palace guards toy guns made out of Lego blocks?
14:41 December 26, 2010 by dobermann
To Rebel

Of course they have...One of the solutions could be to use snowballs instead of AK5 and pieces of grass at the summertime.

When my frien fist time saw that soldier, he asked me: is his gun made of plastic or is it real?It would be interesting to try to take his gun. I said that probably you would be killed for that..

It seems I was wrong then:))
18:01 December 26, 2010 by Tanskalainen
A tactical pump shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot would do the trick and there would be little or no risk to innocent pedestrians. The guard wouldn't even have to be a good shot, you point it at the assailant's foot and pull the trigger surprise, surprise shoe, sock and foot have disappeared.
00:44 December 27, 2010 by BarCode
Don't ask, don't tell.
08:10 December 27, 2010 by Mad Mac
Were the 'Santas' actually members of Swedish special forces indulging in a spot of the 'realistic training' many countries' special forces regard as beneficial (and sometimes as fun, such being many soldiers' idea of a good practical joke?)

The incident certainly highlighted deficiencies in training and procedures.

One biased comment - it's just as well for the Santas that the sentry wasn't, for instance, a Royal Marine (the British ones, I mean). Or a member of the SAS Regiment. Or even one of the Woodentops of the Guards regiments. When Queen Elizabeth gets back from Sandringham, should she give her old mate Carl Gustav a buzz and offer him some real soldiers?
14:10 December 27, 2010 by rohermoker
I would not worry, with such weapons outlawed to the regular Swede, it should show up ar the local police department when Santa sobers up
11:20 December 28, 2010 by MichaelZWilliamson
Well, I'm an expat Brit, now American, and 25 year veteran, so perhaps I can offer some insight to offend everyone. :-)

A 5.56mm round from an FNC clone WILL NOT "pass through 4" of concrete." It will probably make a hole, but it will shatter in the process, being a small caliber, lightly-jacketed round. Even a reinforced round will be slowed tremendously, damaged and probably fragmented by such. Unless the guards are issued armor piercing ammo, this should not be an issue. I do agree a light carbine with 9mm or similar would be more appropriate.

And yes, Tanskaleinen, you do actually have to aim shotguns. At 4m, a shot group is approximately 60mm. It is not a magic weapon you just point and clear the street with. If it was, it would be even more dangerous.

I would guess they were not assuming an imminent threat, taken by surprise, and reluctant to use deadly force. There are good and bad aspects to this. Being reluctant to shoot civilians is probably a good thing. However, there should be training and protocols to allow escalation from verbal to lethal with stages in between for any approach.

And it's a rifle. Millions of them exist all over the planet. My daughter has had something equivalent since she was 7, my son since he was 9. They're sold legally in a great many countries, determined criminals can easily get them, and this one is about half as powerful as a typical hunting rifle. It's not the end of Sweden.
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