• Austria's news in English

Elite cop masterminds armed robbery

Staff reporter · 17 Jun 2014, 16:11

Published: 17 Jun 2014 16:11 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Gabriel E. (49), an ex-cop from Vienna's elite WEGA unit, had retired from the force after being shot, and went into the private security business.  

According to court testimony, he spent several years in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, where he was profoundly moved by the plight of the people in those countries, describing them as "the people who have nothing."

Despite writing many letters requesting charitable assistance on behalf of the impoverished in Africa, the defendant was frustrated in his attempts to help them.

After returning to Austria, he met in a church a 35-year-old woman, Tamara S., who also wanted to help.  Inspired by Gabriel's dream of establishing an orphan children's home in Gabon, Tamara began to prepare herself for a new life in Africa, by acquiring a driving license, studying English, and training as a paramedic.

Gabriel discussed various options with Tamara, who at their initial meeting was working for Loomis, a security transport company.  Gabriel also had worked for the same company on a brief contract, and therefore the two possessed considerable insider knowledge about the security precautions and alarm systems of the company.

Together, the pair hatched the plan of robbing a Loomis armored transport vehicle, intending to take the proceeds with them to Africa to fund the orphanage.

They carried out the crime on the evening of 23 December 2013, when the pair, armed and wearing masks, held up the drivers of a secure transport operated by the woman's former employer, which was being used to refill ATMs.

The pair allegedly escaped with over €3 million according to a report in Vienna Online.

One of several suitcases filled with money recovered by Police.  Photo: Police (LPD)

Story continues below…

Police investigators were sceptical that such a robbery could be undertaken by anyone without an enormous degree of inside knowledge.  The high amount of professionalism displayed showed they were dealing with someone trained and skilled in such operations.  

Finally, although the perpetrators were masked, the fact that one of the pair was obviously female and of slight build led them to match descriptions with a former employee of Loomis.

After confessing, the pair were both found guilty, and each was sentenced to eight years in prison.  In sentencing, judge Claudia Zöllner noted that the alleged intention of using the money to help orphans in Africa was "no respectable motive."

Staff reporter (news@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Female terror suspect 'planned suicide attack' in Austria
Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Police have arrested the wife of a Chechen terror suspect after they found evidence that the pair were planning a suicide attack in Austria.

'Death must be Viennese', and not just at Halloween
Prater amusement features memento mori. Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Dominik Creazzi, "Paranormal Investigator" embossed on his jacket, strains his ears among the decaying tombstones of Vienna's central cemetery, the last resting place of three million mortals from Beethoven to "Rock Me Amadeus" singer Falco.

ECJ puts brakes on deportation of Iraqi family
Photo: ORF

An Iraqi family threatened with deportation has been granted a brief reprieve after the European Court of Justice recommended they be allowed to stay in Austria for the time being.

Flats evacuated after man swallows explosive substance
A decontamination squad was ordered in. Photo: MA 68 Lichtbildstelle

A block of flats in Vienna had to be evacuated after a suicidal resident swallowed a highly toxic and explosive substance.

'Horror clown' threatens bus driver in Vienna's Donaustadt
Pennywise, the original scary clown from the movie It. Photo: Warner Bros

A man disguised as a ‘horror clown’ threatened a bus driver in Vienna’s Donaustadt district and vandalised the bus.

Man lived with body of murdered lover for weeks

A man has been arrested in Graz after police discovered the body of his girlfriend hidden in the shower cubicle of their rented apartment.

Austrian far-right leader brands Merkel 'dangerous'
Heinz-Christian Strache. Photo: Facebook/Personal

The head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party has branded Angela Merkel Europe's most dangerous politician.

Austria 'horror clown' attacks leave several injured
Clown performers are not happy about the negative media stories. Photo: Graeme Maclean/Flickr

Several people have been injured in attacks by masked assailants dressed as 'creepy clowns' in the lead-up to Halloween.

Brunnenmarkt murder 'could have been prevented'
Locals remember the murdered woman. Photo: Wien Caritas

The random murder of a woman in Vienna could have been prevented if the homeless and mentally disturbed man who killed her had been admitted to a psychiatric institution.

Iraqi family ask ECJ to help them stay in Austria
Kumberg locals hold a vigil for the family. Photo: ORF

A group of people from Kumberg in Styria have asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for help in trying to stop the deportation of an Iraqi family.

12 brilliant German words you won't find in English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Five films which will change your mind about Austrian cinema
Those surprising Austrians!
100 years since the last emperor's death
Afghani family's new home in Austria
Der you learn Deutsch?
Delighted by the light
Beware these passport scams
Of course we skipped Oarsch
Foodies rejoice at the choice!
Travel & Tourism
10 years after her escape from captivity
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
Europe's ice cream capital
Best Austrian beauty spots
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
How to make friends in Austria
jobs available