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Haifa man arrested on suspicion of kidnapping woman, forcing her to try rob bank

Suspect said to put fake explosive vest on female bank employee as part of alleged scheme to steal NIS 3 million

Police secure the area near a bank in Haifa where a woman threatened to detonate an explosive vest, September 2, 2021. (Screenshot: Twitter)
Police secure the area near a bank in Haifa where a woman threatened to detonate an explosive vest, September 2, 2021. (Screenshot: Twitter)

Police on Friday arrested a Haifa resident on suspicion of involvement in an attempted bank robbery that involved a woman wearing a fake explosive vest.

An initial investigation indicated the suspect had kidnapped the 31-year-old woman — who works at the bank — and put the vest on her before ordering her to rob the bank.

He allegedly sexually blackmailed the woman with nude photos he took against her will, according to the Walla news site, which identified the suspect as 58-year-old Moshe Shoval.

Shoval was said to have threatened to publicize the photos if she did not do as he demanded.

The Haifa Magistrate’s Court on Friday granted a police request to keep Shoval in custody for a week.

Also Friday, police released the bank employee from custody after questioning her, having apparently accepted her version of events. The woman has not been identified publicly.

According to Walla, Shoval arrived at the woman’s home disguised as a member of the bank’s security department and said he needed to question her over a robbery at the bank last year. However, when she got into his car, he allegedly kidnapped her.

Along with the fake vest, the report said Shoval gave the woman a cellphone to pass onto the bank manager as part of an alleged scheme to steal NIS 3 million (over $936,000) via an electronic bank transfer.

However, after the woman entered the bank, the manager was able to take the device from her, and she was arrested and taken for questioning.

Large police forces were called to the scene and several streets were blocked off in Haifa’s Hadar neighborhood as officials feared the bomb she carried could be real, though police sappers determined it was fake after an hour.

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