New leads in bank armed hold-up

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Akershus police called for more witnesses on Monday night as further details emerged about an armed robbery and hostage situation at a Trøgstad Sparebank branch in Fetsund last week. Police believed a silver minivan was connected to Thursday’s heist, and have released surveillance video of the offender who was still at large on Tuesday morning.

Police released surveillance footage from the Trøgstad Sparebank in Fetsund, showing the robber entering the bank on Thursday. Police still had no suspects by Monday night, and hoped the footage and new information about a silver van would bring more witnesses forward. PHOTO: Trøgstad Sparebank video screenshot

Police released surveillance footage from the Trøgstad Sparebank in Fetsund, showing the robber entering the bank on Thursday. Police still had no suspects by Monday night, and hoped the footage and new information about a silver van would bring more witnesses forward. PHOTO: Trøgstad Sparebank video screenshot

Police want more public help identifying the armed robber after he held up the bank early Thursday afternoon, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Romerike police lawyer Jon Letnes said a man with a “pistol-like” object threatened two employees, and the bank manager said customers were also present. “He has taken money with him, but we do not want to release the amount,” Letnes said.

Police were initially uncertain how many people were involved, but by Friday were confident there was just one offender. The man was described as 165-175 centimetres tall between the ages of 30 and 50, of Nordic appearance with a goatee beard, who spoke Østlandet dialect Norwegian. Police released surveillance video of the robbery (external link, in Norwegian) in a bid for more public assistance.

“It’s good quality on the video,” said Letnes. “By publishing it we hope to get specific tips on who the perpetrator is.” Police were investigating several leads, but had no suspects by Monday night.

The armed man then attempted to break into several cars outside the bank, before taking a person hostage at gunpoint from a nearby gym. “The person at the fitness centre was forced to take the armed man in his car, as a kind of hostage,” Letnes said. “They drove across the Fetsund bridge to Kringen before they stopped.” The perpetrator then fled the scene. Fetsund Pizza was also robbed, according to local newspaper Romerikes Blad.

Seeking silver van
Police set up roadblocks and called in a pursuit helicopter, but were unable to catch the robber. He was last seen on the Kringen road around 2:20pm on Thursday.

On Monday night police appealed for more information on a silver van, which was found between national highway 22 and the Kringen road near where the perpetrator was last spotted. “We do not know exactly when the car arrived and when it disappeared,” Fet and Rælingen sheriff Trond Arve Øren told NRK. “That is why we want to make contact with witnesses or the owner of the vehicle.”

Victims shaken
Police took the hostage into care, and Trøgstad Sparebank manager Rune Iversen said the two employees had been offered counseling. “We are now fully focused on taking care of the staff and customers who were present during the robbery,” he said. “They have been through a terrible experience. It is important at they be safeguarded in the best possible way. No one was physically injured, but it is clear that an armed robbery is a psychological stress.”

The bank was back open by Friday. “We opened a little later today, at 10 o’clock,” said Iversen. “The two staff who were working during the robbery are back on the job today, by their own choice. They are obviously still affected by what happened, but customers who have visited have shown great understanding for what the employees have been through.”

newsinenglish.no/Emily Woodgate