Bosnian Serb police officers arrested over bank van robbery

Five Bosnian Serb police officers suspected of bank van robbery arrested

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Police officers stand watch before Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic's official visit to Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, January 09, 2015.

Five members of a special Bosnian Serb police unit have been arrested on suspicion of robbing a bank van of 617,00 marka ($344,000) using automatic rifles and an anti-tank missile launcher, officials said on Friday.

The heist occurred in September last year when heavily-armed robbers held up a vehicle belonging to the Bosnian branch of Italian Unicredit bank on a highway in Bosnia's autonomous Serb Republic. One security guard was wounded.

Bosnia's two autonomous regions, the Serb Republic and the Bosniak-Croat Federation, have their own separate police forces, as well as a national police force.

Serb Republic prosecution official Darko Ilic said a "significant amount of money" had been seized during the arrests and that the suspects had bought luxury vehicles.

He told a news conference that the weapons used in the robbery were the personal property of the arrested police officers and were found buried on a nearby mountain.

"I particularly regret that these young guys, whose careers were stainless when we admitted them into our ranks and trained them, have disgraced in such a way their unit and the whole police force," Serb Republic Interior Minister Dragan Lukac told the news conference.