• Germany's news in English

Police hunt machete-wielding poker robbers

AFP · 7 Mar 2010, 12:27

Published: 07 Mar 2010 12:27 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We are analysing what police learned yesterday from witnesses," Guido Busch, a spokesman told news agency AFP. "We have no hot leads."

Busch could not say how much the four robbers got away with in the heist that occurred at around 2:15 pm on Saturday, but reports ranged between €250,000 and €800,000.

Police investigations are continuing and more witnesses would likely be interviewed later Sunday, Busch added. He said he was "optimistic" that analysis of video footage taken from the hotel would lead to clearer pictures of the robbers.

In what was described by Berlin-based daily Der Tagesspiegel as "the most spectacular raid for years," the gang, armed with handguns and machetes, burst into the Grand Hyatt hotel, threatening security staff and sparking a panic.

Images of the chaotic scenes during the raid were broadcast by the NTV television station, showing furniture overturned and poker players hiding under tables and trying to escape.

Amid the chaos, one of the security guards managed to tear a bag full of cash from the robbers. Seven people sustained minor injuries in the crush.

Interviewed in Der Tagesspiegel, the guard said, "I just wanted to protect the money. You don't think of anything in that situation, just your duty."

He said the attack had happened while two of his colleagues were away on a break, "which suggests the thieves planned the attack very precisely."

Another witness interviewed in the paper was less impressed with the robbers. "In my opinion, these guys weren't pros. It's crazy to run around here with a samurai sword. Professionals would have shot once in the air and not run around like headless chickens," he said.

Witnesses said the whole incident lasted less than 10 minutes and the gang fled out into the streets around Potsdamer Platz, one of Berlin's busiest squares.

The guard said: "You lose all sense of time in that situation. It seemed like an eternity. Even in the evening, I was still pumped up with adrenaline."

Story continues below…

The organisers, the European Poker Tour (EPT), said the one-million-euro event resumed "within a few hours."

A statement on their website called on anyone with photo or video footage of the robbery to hand it over to police. The tournament's final table was due to start play at 12:00 pm. The competition started on Tuesday with nearly 1,000 players, including German tennis legend Boris Becker.

"American online phenomenon Kevin 'ImaLuckSac' MacPhee was already a massive chip leader when the interruption took place and there was no looking back once play resumed," the EPT website said.

MacPhee "currently has 6,070,000 in chips, more than a million clear of his nearest rival, Ketul Nathwani from Britain."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:55 March 7, 2010 by Eagle1
It's just a bunch of Greeks collecting a German stimulus package. Nothing to worry about.
22:18 March 7, 2010 by Stef34
You must have spent a lot of time and gray matter coming up with so wise a conclusion.....
Today's headlines
Munich to get 'nice toilets' to serve cross-legged locals
Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital has a pee problem - the city only has one public toilet for every 13,000 inhabitants. But a new plan could rescue desperate locals, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

German kids get glowing report for their English skills
Photo: DPA.

As if multilingual Germans don't already put many English-speakers to shame, now the younger generation is improving their English skills even more.

Berlin museum controversially recreates Hitler bunker
The reconstruction of the Hitler bunker. Photo: DPA

Sensationalized or compelling history? Berlin museums clash over new Nazi bunker exhibit

Germans think they're fit, but they're really couch potatoes
Photo: DPA.

There's been an increase in the number of Germans who define themselves as "fit", but their lifestyle choices don't quite match this self-perception.

10 fascinating facts you never knew about German beer
Tennis coach Boris Becker and his wife Lilly at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich. Photo: DPA

From malt and monks to Radlers and rivalries, the story of German beer is as rich and wonderful as its selection.

Intensive farming 'endangers a third of German species'
Photo: DPA

There are 32,000 species of animal, plant and mushroom life native to Germany. Due to intensive farming methods, one in every three of these is endangered, a new report shows.

German hospital uses therapy to 'treat' paedophiles
A poster from the campaigne "Don't offend", which offers therapy to paedophiles. The sign reads "Do you love kids more than you'd prefer? There's help." Photo: DB Scholz & Friends / DPA.

A unique German initiative is offering therapy to paedophiles to control their urges, with the aim of getting them help before they offend.

Minister: 'no tolerance' for clowns after chainsaw attack
Photo: DPA

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has called for a zero-tolerance approach to 'killer clowns' after a series of attacks culminating in two teenagers being chased by a clown wielding a chainsaw.

Baby who was auctioned on eBay taken away from father
Photo: DPA.

A German court ruled on Thursday that a man who put his one-month-old baby up for sale on the online auction platform eBay should only be allowed contact with the child under supervision.

Portugal's ruling party calls German minister 'pyromaniac'
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA.

The head of Portugal's ruling Socialists called German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a "pyromaniac" on Thursday after he criticized Lisbon for reversing course on austerity.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd