Thieves stole equivalent of $92 million in British heist, one of world’s biggest hauls |

Thieves stole equivalent of $92 million in British heist, one of world’s biggest hauls

Daily Staff Report

LONDON – A new audit showed thieves stole the equivalent of about $92 million during last week’s heist at a southeast England cash depot, police said Monday, describing the second-largest cash theft in recent history.The haul was second only to the looting of Iraq’s central bank during the U.S.-led invasion. Still, it was the biggest cash theft in British history.Warehouse owner Securitas Cash Management Ltd. confirmed the amount stolen – 53 million pounds – after an audit, said Adrian Leppard, assistant chief constable of Kent Police.Leppard told reporters four men had been arrested in south London and adjoining Kent county in the last 24 hours and were being questioned in connection with the robbery. A fifth man was arrested and released on bail, as were six suspects detained earlier.Wednesday’s sophisticated robbery in Tonbridge, 30 miles southeast of London, eclipses the $50 million – or about 26 million pounds – stolen from the Northern Bank in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in December 2004. Authorities suspect an organized crime gang in the Tonbridge heist and the outlawed Irish Republican Army in the Belfast robbery.Both raids are dwarfed by the wartime theft of $900 million in U.S. bills and as much as $100 million worth of euros from the Iraq Central Bank in 2003.Leppard said he was “pleased with progress and … confident that we will catch those responsible.”Police hunting the robbers have recovered a van containing weapons and the equivalent of $2.3 million in cash. The dumped money was found Friday in black sacks in a van parked outside a hotel near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel linking England and France. The hotel is about 10 miles from the site of the robbery.The thieves, who dressed as police officers, stopped Securitas manager Colin Dixon, 51, as he drove home from the cash depot, police said.A second group – also dressed as officers – went to Dixon’s home, telling his wife, Lynn, 45, he had been in an accident and taking her away with the couple’s 9-year-old son.Family members were threatened by the thieves but released unhurt once the raid was over, police said.The depot, a single-floored, windowless building, is near the center of Tonbridge. It is surrounded by 6-foot-high steel fencing, and security cameras cover every entrance. Steel traps are in place to prevent unwanted vehicles from entering the compound.There are no signs to indicate the building stores large amounts of money.Vail, Colorado

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