Two at large in violent Amsterdam robbery, chase; Some loot found
A day after the violent robbery of an armored truck in Amsterdam-Noord on Wednesday, police said they were still looking for at least two suspects connected to crime. Thus far, six people have been arrested, and one suspect died during a gun battle with police, though the official cause of death has not been revealed.
Some new details of the robbery and ensuing police-involved chases were revealed throughout Thursday both on the record and anonymously. Police confirmed that the robbers made off with stolen property, but did not reveal how much.
Various media reports pegged the value of the goods being transported by the armored truck at between 40 and 50 million euros in metals. The truck was in a secured area at Schöne Edelmetaal, and was picking up gold and silver, and precious stones, like diamonds, according to Parool. The company has been in the process of leaving the Amsterdam-Noord facility for a destination abroad.
The robbery and chases
As many as ten armed robbers arrived at about 2:15 p.m., including one who kept lookout and fired his gun in the air whenever a driver, bicyclist or pedestrian started to stare at what was happening. Police received multiple calls about the robbery and gunshots, and were quickly at the building on Meeuwenlaan.
After the robbery, the suspects fled in three vehicles pursued by police. One of them fled on the A10 ring road towards Diemen. Authorities said they were "looking for witnesses who saw the suspects shoot at vehicles, including police vehicles, from the car." The car was abandoned and set on fire on Overdiemerweg near the A1. "The police also found another vehicle there. Police arrested a person in that vehicle."
Simultaneously, the other two vehicles headed north with at least five of the suspects in the cars, believed to be an Audi Sportback and a Porsche Cayenne. Police gave chase, and a back-and-forth gun battle occurred on the highway. At the end of the chase in Broek in Waterland, the suspects allegedly set the cars on fire. There was a shootout with police at the location, authorities confirmed.
Three of the suspects are believed to have then jumped into a Renault and drove away. They crashed through the fence of a house, and struck a tree forcing them to stop. A fourth suspect ran to the garden and joined them. They all fled into a field behind the home.
Police arrived at the clearing, and in video from the scene shots can be heard for several minutes, though it was not immediately clear who was firing their guns. "In total, four suspects were arrested in Broek in Waterland. Two of them were injured. A fifth suspect was resuscitated, but died at the scene," police said.
The sixth arrest was made at about 3:30 p.m. on the A16 near Kralingen, about 75 kilometers away from the Diemen location.
Loot found in one getaway car
Nearly two decades ago, the Amsterdam firm Schöne Edelmetaal was acquired by multinational Umicore, based in Belgium. The captured suspects were believed to be from Belgium and France, details which police have not confirmed.
The resident whose home fence was smashed by a car during the movie-like chase said that the police found goods stolen during the robbery in the Renault. One resident of the home, Reina Beets, told NOS that she was upstairs looking out a window when she saw the robbers wearing balaclavas. "So I shout, 'Come upstairs! Stay quiet. W won't do anything. Stay hidden!"
It was not yet clear what was recovered from the car. It was towed away on Thursday. The area surrounding the meadow in which the high-speed chase came to an end was still cordoned off and a search for firearms linked to the case was carried out by authorities.
Bewoner Peter (op foto) schrok zich gisteren dood. Een vluchtauto met overvallers beukte tegen zijn tuinhek, om vervolgens in de tuin tot een boom tot stilstand te komen. Vele hulzen lagen in zijn tuin. Zijn vrouw en dochter verstopten zich boven in een kast. #BroekinWaterland pic.twitter.com/8jJfaO86HR— Jermaine Ellenkamp (@thejermaine) May 20, 2021
Municipality providing support
“Residents of Broek in Waterland are today very startled by a very large and awful incident of violence that was result of an attempted robbery in Amsterdam-Noord, said the Mayor of Waterland, Marian van der Weele. “Fortunately, no residents were injured due to the decisive action of the police and other emergency services, but that could also have been different given the degree of violence that was carried out by the perpetrators.“
The municipality announced they will hold a private meeting with residents and eyewitnesses on Thursday evening. A special emergency line was opened for the town’s residents. People who felt affected by the incident will be able to seek support from social workers and the municipality.