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Robbers in Sweden use chopper in cash depot theft

ROBBERS used a helicopter today in a spectacular raid of a cash depot in Stockholm, breaking into the building through the roof and flying off with bags of cash, police and witnesses said.

The pre-dawn heist stunned police in the Swedish capital, who were unable to deploy their own helicopters to the scene because of suspected explosives placed at their hangar.

Shortly after 5am the robbers jumped onto the roof of the cash depot belonging to security firm G4S and smashed a window to enter the building, police spokeswoman Ulrika Lonngren told broadcaster SVT. There were staff inside the building, but no one was injured.

Witnesses reported hearing loud bangs during the heist, but it wasn't immediately clear whether any explosives had been used.

Police were not sure if the thieves managed to steal any money, "but we have reports that witnesses saw them loading objects into the helicopter," police spokeswoman Towe Hagg told The Associated Press.

Witness Bjorn Lockstrom told broadcaster TV4 he saw a gray helicopter hovering above the building for about 15 minutes. "Two men hoisted themselves down," he said. "I saw when they hoisted up money, too."

Police later found an abandoned helicopter near a lake north of Stockholm. Hagg said the chopper was reported stolen and was believed to be the one used by the robbers.

Sweden has seen a series of spectacular robberies in recent years. Last year a group of men broke into a mail processing center in Goteborg, paralyzing large parts of Sweden's second-largest city after spreading out spikes, burning out cars in several different areas and leaving suspected explosive devices in the center.

In 2006, Goteborg's international airport was partially closed after a group of masked men crashed through a gate and held up luggage handlers as they were unloading crates of foreign currency worth 7.8 million kronor (US$1.1 million) from a passenger aircraft.

Four years earlier, robbers pulled off a similar heist at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport, when staff were loading foreign currency worth 43 million kronor onto an aircraft.


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