Originally created 03/03/03

Bank robbers in Sweden carry out perfect heist -- but flee empty-handed



STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Police in northern Sweden said there was an elaborate bank heist Friday involving explosives, diversion maneuvers and multiple getaway cars.

One glitch: The robbers didn't get any money.

A rural bank was damaged by two explosions in Brunflo, 336 miles northwest of Stockholm, while police were occupied investigating a suspicious package outside the regional police station 12 miles to the north.

No one was injured in the blasts at the bank, but the explosions ripped open an automatic teller machine, police spokesman Aake Mortaigne said.

The explosions also triggered dye-packs that sprayed money inside the machine with ink, rendering the notes useless, he said.

Witnesses told police they saw six suspects carrying automatic weapons with laser sights flee the scene in a dark-colored car. A car matching the description was found burned out a few miles away, where police believe the robbers had another car waiting.

Police had no other clues about the suspects, and said they fled without taking any cash.

A bomb squad blew up the package which was spotted outside the police station an hour before the bank explosions. No one was injured and it wasn't immediately clear whether the package contained explosives.

Mortaigne said the package probably was placed by the bank robbers as a diversion in what he called the most elaborate bank robbery plot ever in the mountainous region.

"All that work for nothing," he said.



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