Stockholm gold heist nets ‘millions’

Gold wholesaler Nordiska Guldjuveler on Södermalm in Stockholm was robbed on Thursday afternoon and after a haul which ‘picked the shop clean’, the thieves are believed to have escaped with a substantial amount of money.

Stockholm gold heist nets 'millions'

According to a witness who was working across the street, the robbers entered the shop with the help of portable scaffolding.

“They were wearing masks and kitted out as house-painters. I thought they had come to remove graffiti,” said witness Stig Hagström to daily Expressen.

The two robbers then climbed up on the scaffolding and entered the shop through an upstairs window. When one of them brandished a gun, Hagström guessed they were no ordinary painters.

“I ran straight into the reception area of my office where we have a security guard and asked him to call the police, “ Hagström told Expressen.

CEO for owner company Guld Invest, Thomas Jansson, had been out to get some coffee and upon his return he found the shop being robbed. To enter the shop visitors must first be filmed on the security cameras and he was surprised to find that the door didn’t open to him at first.

“When I was finally let in, it was the robbers that opened the door. They pointed a gun at my chest. It was completely unreal,” he said to news agency TT.

Inside he saw several employees lying face down on the floor. The atmosphere was agitated and many were openly crying. No one dared move as the robbers shouted ‘don’t open the door – we have placed a bomb outside’ after they pushed passed Jansson and ran out.

When the police arrived on the scene a bag was found hanging off the door and the area was cordoned off until technicians finished examining the bag for explosives.

Another object was reported hanging from scaffolding in the nearby area later on in the day, and police believe this was another evasive manoeuvre by the robbers.

“It is enough that they claim to have planted an explosive device to give them time to escape from the area,” said Ulf Lindgren of the Stockholm police to TT.

The police have started their preliminary investigation into the crime, which has been classified as aggravated robbery.

According to Thomas Jansson it is difficult to say just how much gold the robbers got away with. The shop often handles gold to the value of 10 million kronor ($ 1,6 million)

“We don’t know exactly how much is gone but it must have been a considerable amount. They had picked the shop clean,“ he said.

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Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.