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Police detain extortioner of Tesco hypermarket

POLICE have detained and charged a 34-year-old woodcutter from central Slovakia who attempted to extort the Tesco hypermarket in Banská Bystrica.

The man had demanded Sk12 million (€290,000) from the store, and had threatened the management with "massive damage" if it failed to meet his requirements. He then allegedly set off a simple bomb made out of fireworks in the hypermarket on May 24. Between May 22 and 29 he sent two letters to the management threatening further explosions if the money was not paid.

Police presidium vice president Jaroslav Spišiak said the man's detention was difficult because he had twice failed to take the money.

"First he did not like the type of helicopter [we sent], even though he had not specified it in advance. Then we sent the rescue helicopter he demanded, but he did not take the money anyway," Spišiak said.

Nevertheless, he faces up to 12 years in prison for the crimes.

Interior Minister Vladimír Palko said the number of similar cases had increased to seven since the beginning of this year. He said they could have been inspired by recent cases in the Czech Republic.

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