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Elusive Bernese bank robber gives up

Published: 01 Nov 2012 19:05 GMT+01:00

Bern cantonal police on Thursday said a 48-year-old French man presented himself a day earlier at the police station in Moutier, where he admitted to holding up a bank at gunpoint in the town of Malleray.

The armed robbery occurred on the morning of October 22nd when a man entered a branch of the BCBE, the Bern cantonal bank, and demanded money from a teller after threatening her with a gun.

He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, sparking an international manhunt involving French and Swiss law enforcement officers who issued a public appeal for help.

Police said their investigation of the robbery — the third at the bank branch in six months — rapidly enabled them to discover the identity of the suspect.

The Frenchman admitted to leaving the scene of the robbery on a motorbike in the direction of the French border.

He spent more than a week in France before travelling to Moutier after a national and international warrant was issued for his arrest.

The suspect not only admitted to the crime but he returned some of the cash he had stolen, police said.

He is also suspected of committing robberies in Bienne and Delémont (both in the canton of Bern) at the beginning of the year.

The man is in detention while the inquiry continues.

It appears he was not involved in earlier armed robberies of the cantonal bank in Malleray, which remain unsolved.

A suspect involved in the heists dating from April and May was described by police as a man between 20 and 30 years old who spoke French with an accent.

He reportedly used a gun to make off with foreign money worth tens of thousands of francs. 


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Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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