Swedish court hikes helicopter heist penalties

Sweden's Svea Court of Appeal (Svea hovrätt) has announced that it has raised the penalties served on three of the key men behind the spectacular helicopter heist in Västberga in September 2009.

Swedish court hikes helicopter heist penalties

The pilot and a man who entered the G4S cash depot have had their penalties hiked from seven to eight years imprisonment after have their convictions for aggravated robbery confirmed.

The 39-year-old man thought to be the brains behind the planning of the spectacular caper and convicted by the district court of being an accomplice to the heist had his penalty increased from three to four years.

Two other men, aged 34 and 38-years-old, had their penalties confirmed at two years and one year respectively. The former was convicted for having rigged a fake traffic accident intended to give the helicopter an alibi and the latter for protecting a criminal.

A 24-year-old man accused of having placed the bags marked “bomb” at the police helicopter base in Myttinge was acquitted by the court.

Early on September 23rd 2009, three masked, armed men were dropped onto the

roof of the G4S banknote facility in southern Stockholm by a stolen helicopter.

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 suspects allegedly made off with over 39 million kronor ($5.3 million) and only a small fraction of the amount, less than 100,000 kronor, has since been recovered.

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

Altogether, seven of the ten men originally charged for their role in the heist were convicted.

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Ikea to test cash-free store in Sweden

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is going to use its Gävle location to test out whether it can go completely cash-free nationwide.

Ikea to test cash-free store in Sweden
Ikea will go cash-free throughout Sweden if the test is a success. Photo: TT
Ikea said that customers in Gävle, an eastern city best known for its giant straw Christmas goat, were strongly in favour of abandoning cash. 
“In our surveys, the vast majority of customers have said that cash payments are no longer important. Today we use a fair amount of resources on handling cash but we’d prefer to use them on something else,” Patric Burstein, the head of customer relations at the Gävle store, told Dagens Nyheter. 
Ikea said that its cashless test would begin in Gävle on October 1st. If all goes well, the company plans to eliminate cash payments in all of its Swedish locations. 
Department store Åhléns is also testing the idea of going cashless, with three of its locations currently not accepting cash payments. 
Swedes use their debit cards three times as frequently as most Europeans and with the popularity of smartphone payment apps like Swish, it has been predicted that Sweden will be completely cash-free by 2030.  
The move to ditch cash also has its naysayers, however, with some Swedes worried about the effects on rural areas, pensioners – and personal integrity.