Friday, 27 February 2009

Hostage-takers steal millions from bank

Police won't confirm precise sum stolen
( Updated: Friday, 27 Feb 2009, 9:09 AM CST )

DUBLIN (AP) - Police say a Bank of Ireland employee has stolen millions of euros from his own branch after a gang took his family hostage and threatened to kill them unless he cooperated.

Kidnappings of bank officials' families are common in Ireland but usually involve much smaller cash losses. Police say the banker's family was freed uninjured Friday after he delivered the money.

Police have refused to confirm the precise sum stolen. Irish media are putting it at euro7 million ($9 million).

If confirmed, this would be the second-biggest kidnapping of its kind in Ireland. In 2004, two Northern Bank employees were forced to help a gang take more than 26 million pounds ($50 million) from the bank's central Belfast vault.

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