Europe

Thieves snatch 9 million euros in France cash heist

LYON (AFP) – Thieves made off with nine million euros (S$14.5 million) in cash in the southeastern French city of Lyon on Friday (Aug 29) in an armed attack on an armoured security vehicle, prosecutors said.

The theft is believed to be the biggest such cash heist in France since notorious robber Toni Musulin made off with 11.6 million euros in 2009.

The vehicle was attacked by several armed individuals as it came out of a branch of the Bank of France in Lyon.

No-one was injured in the attack on the vehicle belonging to the Loomis security company “but the losses amount to nine million euros”, prosecutors said in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

“The perpetrators managed to immediately flee after committing the act.”

Local reports said two vans blocked in the armoured vehicle, one in front and one behind.

The robbers threatened the driver, took the money, and fled in two vehicles later found burnt.

“It was an audacious attack, right in the city centre,” Loomis chief executive Michel told AFP.

“The most important thing is that the cash escorts are safe and sound,” he added.

The three employees are extremely shocked, Loomis trade unionist Kader Bengueche said, adding they would see a psychologist on Monday.

Cash handling Swedish company Loomis has been attacked several times over the years.

In May 2017, 35 million euros worth of goods – cash, diamonds and gold ingots – were stolen from one of its vehicles in Switzerland.

And in December 2016, thieves stole 70kg of gold powder worth 2.5 million euros from the same company near Lyon.

But Tresch told AFP that compared to the 2000s, there were fewer physical attacks today.

“It is a lot easier to carry out attacks (on the internet) via hackers, as opposed to attacking an armoured vehicle,” Tresch said.

“It’s not the same exposure.”

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