bank heist earns thieves + $53M/USD


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More than $53M taken in Northern Ireland robbery
Last Updated Wed, 22 Dec 2004 16:54:35 EST
BELFAST - The robbers who pulled off Northern Ireland's biggest bank robbery dressed as police officers to get into the home of a banker, taking his wife hostage.

More details are emerging about the bank heist in Belfast on Monday evening that netted thieves more than $53 million, reportedly the biggest robbery in Northern Ireland's history.

Belfast headquarters of Northern Bank. (AP file photo)
At a news conference on Wednesday, Det. Supt. Andy Sproule described the heist from the Northern Bank as "carefully planned" by professional criminals and revealed that more than 10 people were involved.

The complexity of the crime and the enormous amount taken has led to speculation that a paramilitary group, such as the Irish Republican Army or the Ulster Defence Association, is behind the heist.

Sproule said three men entered the home of one bank employee, Chrissie Ward, and took her family hostage. They then drove her to the home of another executive, Kevin McMullan, where two men dressed as police officers had already gained entry.

The men threatened to kill McMullan's wife and Ward's family if they didn't comply.

McMullan's wife was driven to a forest and left there. She was found barefoot, suffering from hypothermia, about 16 kilometres from their home Monday night. A burned car was found where she had been abandoned.

The executives were escorted to work on Monday, and after the bank closed were forced to open a central vault containing cash destined for the financial institution's 95 branches. Police say one of the executives delivered bags of money several times to a waiting van.

The stolen cash is British pound sterling notes printed by Northern Irish banks, which look different from Bank of England notes.

The National Australia Bank, which owns Northern Bank, will have to bear the cost of the robbery because its insurance will not cover the lost money. The robbery comes a week after the Australian company announced it would sell the bank to Danske Bank of Denmark.

hmmmm gee, i wonder if this will lead to the "suspected criminals/the Irish Republican Army or the Ulster Defence Association" being harrassed, questioned, imprisoned unlawfully, and evetnually lead to civil war???

on the other hand- go bank robbers!! lmfao. 53M is a bunch!