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Colombian woman stole from Austrian banks

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Colombian woman stole from Austrian banks
Court exterior. Photo: APA
16:29 CEST+02:00
A Colombian con artist who distracted bank employees in Austria and stole cash amounting to €184,000 has been sentenced to two years in prison.

The woman, 34, confessed to robbing banks in Salzburg and Carinthia. She belonged to a criminal organized gang.  

Her first big robbery was in November 2011, in Salzburg’s Spängler Bank. Together with another Colombian, who’s already serving a two year prison sentence, she distracted bank employees by speaking “gibberish English” and Spanish.

The pair managed to steal an envelope containing nearly €47,000 euros, which had just been delivered from another bank. By the time the employee noticed it was missing the Colombians were long gone.

The woman was also involved in the robbery of a Raiffeisen branch in Villach in March 2012, where €77,000 was stolen and a Zveza Bank in Klagenfurt in June 2012, where €60,380 was stolen. She was also involved in robbing jewellery stories - bringing the total amount of money stolen to €210,000.

She and her co-thief had been recruited by a criminal organization at the age of 16. As a reward for their crimes the woman, who had three aliases, said they were each given €3,000 or €4,000 euros.

"I was told to take the money. The value of it didn’t interest me. I did this in order to feed my daughter, so I could send money home," she told the judge.

Her lawyer said that she did not live a life of luxury but sent money home, to her ten-year-old daughter and her seriously ill mother. "She was just a small cog in a large organization," he said. If she had refused to commit the crimes, she would have been punished, he claimed. She left school at the age of 11 and never had a job - “all she learned was shoplifting”, her lawyer said.

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