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Berlin bank robber had fake gun and bomb

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Berlin bank robber had fake gun and bomb
Photo: DPA
09:34 CET+01:00
The 29-year-old man from Wolfsburg who police said took a Deutsche Bank manager in Berlin hostage on Friday evening did not have a real gun or bomb and reportedly tried to rob the bank because he was in debt, the Berliner Zeitung reported.

The suspected bank robber held the 40-year-old Deutsche Bank employee for several hours before surrendering to the police on Saturday morning. He had first demanded €100,000, then a half million euros than upped it to a million and asked for safe passage. He also threatened to blow up the bank if his demands were not met.

The man's weapon was later revealed as fake as was the “bomb” he reportedly intended to use to destroy the bank. After the man surrendered to the police and they were able to inspect the “bomb” it turned out to be three kilos of flour.

The paper said the apparent motive was that the man was in debt, but police officials at a press conference on Saturday refused to elaborate on the motive.

Jochen Sindberg, head of the Berlin police's criminal department, said the man first entered the bank in the wealthy neighbourhood of Zehlendorf on Thursday and wanted to open an account, which was not possible to due technical reasons at the time. He left, but returned on Friday and asked for credit.

The 40-year-old manager who became a hostage entered into talks with the man, who at some point expressed his “wish” and showed the bank employee his gun and bomb, which turned out to be fake. He then said he wanted €100,000 immediately, but soon raised the financial stakes.

The bank employee told the man that he needed to get an okay from the branch manager and had to call him, which he was allowed to do. The police told reporters at that point the man thought that he would get the money.

“The bank director acted very professionally,” said Sindberg. “He evacuated the branch, called the police and told the perpetrator that he wasn't able to do business with him.”

Police officials said in their negotiations with the man it was clear that he was not a professional bank robber and did not want to harm his hostage, but was more interested in getting the money and a safe passage out.

If convicted, the man faces between five and 15 years of jail time.

The Local/mw

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