Money couriers robbed at gunpoint

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Seven police districts were involved Monday morning in a major manhunt launched after as many as four armed robbers held up a pair of money couriers northeast of Oslo before dawn.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the couriers’ vehicle, from the NOKAS currency depot, was held up outside the Skedsmo Senter shopping complex at Skedsmokorset just before 4am.

‘Well-planned’
The robbers were all wearing ski masks and dark overalls and threatened the two NOKAS couriers with hand weapons, according to Bjørn Jar, operations leader from the Romerike police station. The two money couriers reportedly were accosted by three or four armed robbers who later fled in separate vehicles.

Police armed themselves for the manhunt which also was involviing use of a police helicopter Monday morning. Police said they had reason to believe the robbery was well-planned.

Neither of the two money couriers were physically injured during the heist but police said one of them requested medical assistance and was taken to a local emergency room.

Cash stash unclear
It remained unclear how much cash the robbers seized during the heist. The couriers on duty were charged with replenishing minibanks (automated teller machines) and retrieving cash from night safes at local bank branches. Officials at NOKAS (Norsk Kontantservice) wouldn’t say whether the couriers were at the beginning or end of their rounds.

Both couriers were being questioned by police, who also were seeking assistance from any witnesses and tips from the public. Few details of the getaway vehicles were known, according to NRK.

Money couriers were popular targets in Norway during the 1990s and NOKAS was the target of Norway’s biggest robbery ever, when commando-style gunman broke into NOKAS’ currency depot in Stavanger in 2004 and later killed a police officer during an armed battle on a downtown street. Those convicted are still serving relatively long prison terms. The number of armed courier heists had since declined markedly.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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