Suspects face 18 years for Amsterdam armored truck heist; €4 mil. in loot still missing
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) on Tuesday demanded 18 years in prison against seven men accused of involvement in the violent robbery of a valuables transport at Schone Edelmetaal in Amsterdam-Noord on May 19 last year. The OM demanded five years in prison against an eighth suspect, who allegedly played a much smaller role.
The robbery resulted in a wild-west-like chase with a massive police response, which ended in Broek in Waterland, a village above Amsterdam. The police shot and killed one of the robbers, 47-year-old Osiris Diawara. The loot amounted to 14.5 million euros in precious metals, over 4 million euros of which is still missing.
The OM motivated the sentence demands by saying that the case “is at the absolute upper limit of severity.” It is an “unprecedented,” very violent robbery, the prosecutors said, carried out by a “heavily armed international commando.” They tried to shoot and kill 12 police officers while fleeing and threatened another 12 officers with weapons, including by firing their guns into the air.
“Professional and with months of preparation.” The “ruthless” suspects set out from France and Belgium to strike a massive blow in the Netherlands, the prosecutors said. “Cars loaded with men and weapons, they crossed the border on the warpath.”
“With dollar signs in their eyes,” they took many risks for granted. “It is a miracle that, apart from the significant emotional damage, no civilians or police officers were physically injured.” The men only surrendered when they could go no further, surrounded in a meadow bordered by a wide ditch.
During the trial, the question of whether the suspects fired aimed shots at police officers often arose. The suspects consistently claimed that they fired only to keep the police at bay, not to hit them. The prosecutors dispute that. According to the OM, no one was hit mainly because the suspects used outdated, rickety weaponry and lacked shooting experience.
The court will rule on April 3.
A ninth suspect from France will stand trial at a later date. A tenth suspect with Belgian nationality is still awaiting extradition to the Netherlands. A young woman arrested in Belgium in November last year is also still a suspect. Two others are still at large.