A Moldovan man, who is now 38 years old, has been arrested in Romania and extradited to Austria 19 years after he robbed a bank in Tyrol. The man, along with an accomplice, robbed a bank in Gries im Sellrain (Innsbruck-Land district) in 2004 and had been wanted on a European arrest warrant.
According to police reports on Monday, the man is confessing to the crime. During the robbery, the 38-year-old threatened a bank employee with a gas pistol while wearing a motorcycle helmet to conceal his identity. He demanded that a five-digit amount of cash be handed over, after which he and his accomplice fled on a previously stolen scooter. The scooter was later discarded over an embankment.
On the same day of the robbery, the accomplice of the arrested man was investigated by the Cobra unit in Sellrain. Additionally, two helpers from Moldova were also arrested. Two years ago, another accomplice from Moldova was found in Ukraine and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by the Innsbruck regional court. At the time of his capture, the 38-year-old man managed to escape.
It remains unclear why the man returned to Austria after such a long period, but his arrest is a testament to the effectiveness of the European arrest warrant system. The system facilitates cooperation between different national police forces and allows for the speedy extradition of suspects between EU countries.
The man’s confession is expected to lead to a trial, which will hopefully bring closure to the victims of the 2004 bank robbery. The incident serves as a reminder that justice can catch up with criminals, no matter how long it takes.