Armored truck robbers did shoot at police, Prosecutor says
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) is still investigating the targeted shooting at the police by the robbers of a valuables transport at Schone Edelmetaal in Amsterdam-Noord on May 19. The fact that forensic investigators found no evidence of this does not mean that it did not happen, the OM said on Monday during a preparatory hearing against the six suspects at the Amsterdam Court.
The OM quoted, among other things, statements from police officers who filed a report against the suspects. They said that several shots were fired at the police during the wild chase that followed the robbery.
On the day in question, a valuables transport was robbed at the Schone Edelmetaal branch on Meeuwenlaan. Outside the building, robbers fired automatic weapons into the air. Inside, the robbers tied up company employees. The robbers got away with 14.5 million euros in loot, some of which is still missing.
A veritable police force gave chase. The robbers fled in several cars to the village of Broek in Waterland, near Amsterdam. There, the police shot dead a 47-year-old robber and arrested six others.
According to the OM, the violent events had a major impact on the officers involved. During the chase, shots were fired at police cars, including with a Kalashnikov. "He was shooting," an officer described the actions of one of the suspects. "He shot around. It was like he was trying to hit everything he saw." An investigation revealed that no police vehicles were hit.
According to the OM, there is "no reason" to doubt the officers' statements. "They were already shooting while driving," said the OM. In addition to committing the robbery, the OM accused the suspects of shooting at the police, among other things. In legal terms, this is attempted aggravated manslaughter. The indictment drafted is provisional and can be changed at a later date.
According to the OM, there is every reason to keep the six suspects in pre-trial detention. Last week, two more suspects, a man and a woman, were arrested in Belgium and France. After extradition, they will be added to the current case in Amsterdam. A suspect arrested in Eastern Europe on the instructions of the Belgian judiciary is also linked to the Amsterdam case.
Another preparatory hearing will be held in January. The substantive trial is expected to begin in September next year.
Reporting by ANP