There was an explosives alarm on a Sunday at the end of August in a bank foyer in the middle of Graz-Eggenberg. The Cobra task force and the defusing service moved in, and there was talk of a suspicious object. A false alarm, as the police officially explained at the time. But it wasn’t quite like that. In fact, a burglar had pulled off a notable coup: he was able to crack the code on an ATM safe and make off with the safe and its contents. But now he was caught.
“Criminal tactical reasons” kept the police silent about the true background of the large-scale operation. Even today, no one wants to reveal in detail how the perpetrator managed to get to the safe in the self-service foyer. Only this much: He had previously manipulated the ATM for months and thus got the number code that allows access to the safe.
Passers-by found money
At 1:25 a.m. on August 29, the man finally struck and stole the safe and its contents from the foyer. In doing so, he had a serious mishap. On the run, he lost a total of 448 20-euro banknotes. They were literally lying on the street. Passers-by found the money and were honest enough to alert the police. This is how the coup was perceived in the first place.
Because suspicious equipment was later found during the investigation of the self-service foyer, the area was cordoned off on a large scale. But it was not an explosive device, as initially assumed. In this respect, the message with the “false alarm” was correct.
Traces of the suspect were found at the crime scene. These and images from the video surveillance led the investigators from the State Criminal Police Office (in cooperation with the Federal Criminal Police Office and the liaison officers at the Austrian Embassy in Belgrade) to the 54-year-old Serb. He was now back in his home country and had also hidden behind a false identity.
arrest at the border
When crossing the border from Serbia to Croatia, the handcuffs clicked for the wanted man a few days ago – the decisive factor was an EU arrest warrant suggested by the Graz public prosecutor’s office. On Tuesday, the 54-year-old Serb was handed over to the local authorities at the Spielfeld border crossing. Now he is in detention in Graz. Except for the lost banknotes, there is nothing left of the loot (a considerable sum of money).