Crime spree baffles investigators

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Police in southern Norway were challenged over the weekend by a crime spree that involved kidnapping, robbery, wild car chases, apparent hostage-taking and shootings. Several persons were in custody Monday morning, while investigators worked to sort it all out.

They still weren’t sure whether the incidents of alleged hostage-taking, for example, were related or coincidental. By mid-day on Monday, though, they could tell Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that they think the motive behind all the fuss was monetary gain.

ATM hold-up
It all started around 10am Sunday in Kristiansand, when a security guard was threatened at gunpoint and forced to withdraw money from an automated teller machine (minibank). Newspaper Aftenposten reported that a witness to the robbery was also threatened, and forced into a Volkswagen Golf sedan along with the security guard.

They were later released, but just after 10am police received reports that another apparent hostage-taking was underway, just outside of Kristiansand. Witness reported seeing a woman dragged into a black BMW, which police could determine had been stolen the night before.

The BMW then launched a high-speed getaway, driving at rates of speed up to 180 kilometers per hour on the wrong wide of the E18 highway heading for Grimstad, another town further up the southern coast. Police gave chase but lost the BMW.

Chase goes on
It re-emerged later in the afternoon, when its occupants shot at a car from local newspaper Agderposten. In the meantime the desperados had allegedly holed up in a woman’s house, beating and robbing her as well.

As a new car chase ensued, the BMW was forced to brake at a police roadblock and a woman, believed to be one of the hostages, escaped and was taken to hospital. The BMW’s wild ride, however, continued for another half-hour until police managed to stop it in downtown Grimstad.

Its two occupants fled on foot, though, with only one of them stopping after police fired off a warning shot. He was in custody Monday, along with his alleged female accomplice who was arrested at a house in Fevik during the night.

Police seemed to have as many questions as reporters, but claimed they had arrested the main suspects. They were still looking for the Volkswagen Golf, though.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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