Gang robs cash truck with rocket launcher

Police are searching for men who witnesses say used an antitank rocket launcher to threaten and rob a truck transporting money in Dortmund on Saturday.

Gang robs cash truck with rocket launcher
File photo of a rocket launcher. Photo: DPA.

Police are searching for the four masked men that were involved in the robbery just before 7pm on Saturday evening.

The suspects reportedly blocked the armoured money truck with one car while a second vehicle came in behind to prevent the truck from reversing away, police reported on Monday.

Witnesses told police that the men threatened the truck with an antitank rocket launcher as well as automatic rifles and even shot at the car's bonnet, a Dortmund police spokeswoman told The Local.

“We are investigating whether it was a rocket launcher and cannot yet rule that out,” spokeswoman Cornelia Weigandt told The Local on Monday. “Witnesses said they saw a rocket launcher and we must look into whether that is true.”

The suspects even yelled at and threatened another passing car so that the driver would leave.

The thieves then used an angle grinder to open the truck's back door and steal the money inside. No one was injured, though the suspects also reportedly fired warning shots.

After the suspects fled the scene, police found their getaway cars abandoned, one with its engine still running and the other had been set on fire.

Both cars had been reported as stolen within the past year.

Police do not yet have much information on the suspects because they were all masked, but they are described as German-speakers.

Weigandt also told The Local that police are investigating whether there may be a connection to a similar case in Berlin last month.

A group of six masked, armed thieves tried to rob a money transport truck in a similar manner in the capital city, but when they could not open the truck's doors, they set one of their cars on fire and fled in the other. The second car was later found set on fire.

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Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.