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Bosnian police officers arrested for robbing bank van

Five officers in Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic have been apprehended for stealing from an armored car. The authorities had acted on a tip from their colleagues.

Five members of Bosnia's special Serb police force have been detained over an armored car robbery, a minister announced on Friday. According to Dragan Lukak, interior minister of Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic, the officers had taken some 600,000 Bosnian marks ($334,000, 306,070 euros) from the bank van.

The officers were part of a special unit tasked with countering terrorism and battling organized crime.

The heist occurred four months ago when the van was on route to the Croatian capital of Zagreb, transporting funds for a subsidiary UniCredit, one of Italy's major banks. The thieves attacked with automatic rifles and an anti-tank missile launcher. One security guard was wounded in the attack.

"The first clues came from the special police unit itself where the suspects' strange behavior was noticed," Lukak told reporters, saying that the weapons used during the robbery were the personal belongings of the arrested officers and had been found buried nearby.

"I particularly regret that these young guys, whose careers were spotless when we admitted them into our ranks and trained them, have disgraced in such a way their unit and the whole police force," he added.

A prosecutor for the Serb Republic, Darko Illic, said a "significant amount of money" was seized after the arrests and the suspects had recently purchased luxury cars.

A total of seven people have been arrested over the heist. One of the other suspects was an employee of the security firm, and is thought to have informed the thieves of the vehicle's location, according to local media.

es/sms (AFP, Reuters)

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