An armed thief who had taken six hostages during a foiled robbery attempt of a Poľnobanka branch in Piešťany surrendered to police less than three hours after the ordeal began on August 22. The standoff started after a bank guard, who had fled the building during the robbery, locked the door behind him, trapping the thief and the hostages inside.
The gunman broke into the bank at 9:30 then demanded to speak to a police negotiator as special 'black-mask' commando units surrounded the building. He freed two hostages at 10:40, then gave himself up shortly before noon.
The gunman was identified in Slovak media as 23 year-old Richard Ď., who allegedly demanded 20 million Slovak crowns from the bank clerk in order to pay off gambling debts. If convicted, Richard Ď. faces 10 to 15 years in prison.
27. Aug 2001 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA