Three men involved with stealing a total of €1.7 million from 13 automated teller machines (ATMs) within a span of four hours on Thursday, March 28, have been detained and charged, Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar told the TASR newswire on Tuesday, April 2. While only three men have been charged so far, all of whom come from Košice or its surrounding area, the total number of people implicated in the heist remains unclear.
According to Plus Jeden Deň daily's Tuesday edition, the three men pulled off their well-organised heist between 19:00 and 23:00 last Thursday, starting in Prešov and ending in Svit four hours later, a period when the ATMs would presumably have been stocked for the upcoming holiday. If convicted, they may face up to 15 years in prison. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Bratislava, Gašpar said the gang was in the throes of its 14th heist last Thursday, which ultimately did not go as planned.
"It's clear that they used the copies of original keys to the cash-points. They knew the safe codes as well as the alarm codes that protect the safes in which the cash-point money is placed," said Gašpar, implying the robbery could have been an inside job. He acknowledged the excellent work of police officers in Prešov region who, during a routine inspection, checked on the passengers of a VW Transporter car that had been used in the robberies.
"The perpetrators were clad in black clothing normally used by private security services (SBS). Their clothes didn't carry the logo of any such security service, though," said Gašpar, adding that this aroused the officers' suspicions that something was not quite right with the people in the car. "They checked as to why the men had unmarked clothing, and they ended up inspecting the vehicle in which they came across boxes from the just-robbed cash-point," said Gaspar, adding that the boxes contained €200,000.
According to Plus Jeden Deň, the remaining €1.5 million that was stolen has not been recovered yet. He noted that the men made use of a car licence plate that rotates automatically. "Some criminals like to use them ... it's an import from Poland," he said.
(Source: TASR, Plus Jeden Deň)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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3. Apr 2013 at 14:00