Suspects convicted in Wild West heist of Amsterdam armored truck; Up to 15 years in jail
Last update 2:48 p.m.
The court sentenced eight suspects of a violent valuables transport robbery in Amsterdam, which ended in a shootout in a nearby village, to between 2 and 15 years in prison. The sentences are lower than the Public Prosecutor demanded.
The highest sentence, 15 years, went to two suspects - the initiator of the robbery and the only suspect for which there was enough evidence to prove that he fired gunshots at the police, according to RTL Nieuws. Four suspects will spend 10 or 12 years in prison. The other two played a smaller role in the robbery, according to the court. They received prison sentences of six years and two years.
The robbers struck a Brink’s armored truck carrying 67.3 million worth of valuables on 19 May 2021 at Schhone Edelmetaal, which was then located on Meeuwenlaan in Amsterdam-Noord. The robbery resulted in a wild-west-like chase with a massive police response, which ended in Broek in Waterland, a village above Amsterdam. The police shot and killed one of the robbers, 47-year-old Osiris Diawara. The robbers stole approximately 14.5 million euros in precious metals, over 4 million euros of which is still missing.
In November last year, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) demanded 18 years in prison against seven of the suspects and five years in prison against an eighth suspect who allegedly played a smaller role. According to the OM, a high sentence is appropriate as this case “is at the absolute upper limit of severity.” The “heavily armed international commando” used “unprecedented” violence in the robbery, trying to shoot and kill 12 police officers while fleeing and threatening another 12 cops with weapons, including by firing their guns in the air.
According to the OM, the “ruthless” suspects took many risks. “It is a miracle that, apart from the significant emotional damage, no civilians or police officers were physically injured,” the OM said at the trial in November.
The suspects consistently claimed they only fired their guns to keep the police at bay, never aiming to hit any officers. But the prosecutor fought that argument, saying the only reason no police got shot was that the suspects used outdated, rickety weapons and had no shooting experience.
The court agreed with the suspects’ side of the argument, acquitting them of firing aimed shots at the police. Several cops stated that the suspects shot at them, but the court followed scientific reports and said that the incriminating statements made by the officers should be critically assessed. In only one case was there legal and conclusive evidence that a suspect shot at a cop, the court said. But the suspects did show their weapons and threatened the cops, who feared for their lives. So the court considered complicity in qualified attempted manslaughter proven.
The court stated at the start of the ruling that its sentences would differ from what the OM demanded. The court distinguished between the "present" suspects - six arrested on the day of the robbery - and the suspects who were later arrested elsewhere. The present suspects were most involved in the robbery and violence used, according to the court, and therefore got the highest sentences. The court spoke of acts of "unprecedented brutality and disregard for persons' lives."
The suspects have two weeks to appeal against the court's ruling.