Police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of carrying out a string of brutal bank robberies, including the murder of a bank security guard in August 2011.
The man, reportedly a former Border Policeman, was arrested after attempting to hold up a Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank branch in Ness Ziona. Undercover police officers had tracked the robber and were able to confront him only moments after he exited the bank. The suspect fired shots in the air, but police quickly managed to subdue him.
The suspected serial bank robber will be brought before the Ramle Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for arraignment.
The man, whose identity is being suppressed by gag order, is suspected of at least 13 other cases of bank robbery in central Israel, as well as the murder of Yaniv Engler, a security guard in a Beer Yaakov branch of Bank Hapoalim. Police investigators are currently examining whether the slugs fired at Wednesday’s crime scene match the ones that killed Engler.
Police commander Bentzi Sau said that the suspect fit the police profile of the serial bank robber. “The robbery was thwarted and the robber was arrested thanks to police’s early deployment at the scene,” he told Ynet.
In recent months, police had set up ambushes outside bank branches all over central Israel in an attempt to capture the serial bank robber. Because of the high priority of the ambushes and their level of sensitivity, police officers who took part in the assignments were ordered to sign a special secrecy form so as to prevent any possible leak of the mission’s details.