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Police thwart “spectacular” robbery of National Bank

09:18 11/03/2015

Police have arrested three youths suspected of planning an attack on the National Bank of Belgium (NBB) in Brussels in what is being described as “the robbery of the century”. The three, two aged 18 and one 19, were originally arrested in February on suspicion of taking part in the robbery of a Brussels resident.

Following their arrest, searches were carried out at their homes. “Police discovered a hand-written document that laid out a plan for robbing the National Bank,” said Jennifer Vanderputten, spokesperson for the Brussels prosecutor’s office. “The man was not in possession of staff schedules or of explosives. The suspect declared that the scenario was not serious.”

According to investigators, the plan would have had little chance of success. The three are still in detention in connection with the failed home invasion. They may now also face charges of criminal conspiracy.

An NBB spokesperson said security was aware of the situation and able to cope with any threat. NBB (pictured) contains both gold and cash: Every banknote in circulation in Belgium passes through the bank three times a year for checking. Its headquarters in Brussels is linked by an underground passage to the national mint, where coins are manufactured and banknotes printed.

 

photo courtesy Riruse Kawashima

Written by Alan Hope