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September 25, 2009

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Cops in hot water over bold robbery

SWEDISH police faced stinging criticism yesterday for failing to stop helicopter-borne gunmen from pulling off a Hollywood-style heist against a cash depot while blocking an air pursuit with a fake bomb.

Investigators had made no arrests as of yesterday afternoon, a day after the pre-dawn raid on the G4S cash facility, where millions are stored and processed before being transferred to banks and ATMs in the Stockholm area.

Two men detained for questioning on Wednesday were no longer suspects in the robbery, police spokesman Ulf Goranzon said.

Swedish media mixed awe of the robbers' military precision with anger against the police for not mounting a more effective response. The bandits prevented an air pursuit simply by placing a fake bomb at a poorly guarded helipad outside the capital.

"It's just embarrassing that criminals can knock out the police with tricks from a book for boys," columnist Lena Mellin wrote in tabloid Aftonbladet.

In an editorial, Stockholm daily Svenska Dagbladet said police have to become better at protecting themselves and their property "or they won't be able to protect society and citizens."

The masked bandits broke into the building via the roof early on Wednesday and set off explosions to get to the millions inside. They escaped by hoisting themselves and their haul back up on rope lines.

Meanwhile, police units on the scene were ordered to remain outside the building and wait for a commando unit.

"The first police that arrived at the scene weren't equipped to intervene against heavily armed robbers," Goranzon said. "When the right forces arrived, the helicopter took off."


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