NEWS

Anti-terrorism squad called in after 300,000-euro bank robbery

The anti-terrorism squad joined regular police officers on Friday in the search for three armed robbers that held up a bank northwest of Athens and made off with some 300,000 euros in cash as well as a hostage who was later released unharmed.

Wearing wigs and other items to disguise themselves, the trio walked into a National Bank branch in the town of Paralia Distomou, also known as Aspra Spitia, just before 2 p.m. They forced staff to open the safe and waited the 10-15 minutes needed for the time delay locks to open. They took the cash and the bank’s cashier with them and drove off in a stolen SUV that was found burned at the beach of Aghia Sotira.

There, they boarded a speedboat and crossed the Corinthian Gulf to Kato Loutro, near Xylokastro. Some 300 to 400 meters before reaching the beach, they pushed the bank employee into the sea. He swam to safety. The robbers then dumped the boat, which they also set fire to, and got into another car to complete their escape.

Police said the robbery was very similar to a raid at an Alpha Bank branch on the island of Spetses in 2012. Then, the robbers made off with 474,000 euros. Police linked that robbery with Revolutionary Struggle leader Nikos Maziotis, who is currently in police custody.

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