Shtick up

Jordanian living illegally in Israel held for bubble gun bank heist

Suspect fitted toy with a syringe he claimed contained blood contaminated with AIDS, threatened clerks he would infect them if they didn’t hand over the money

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A soap bubble gun and syringe allegedly used by a Jordanian citizen to hold up an Israeli postal bank in January 2019. (Israel Police)
A soap bubble gun and syringe allegedly used by a Jordanian citizen to hold up an Israeli postal bank in January 2019. (Israel Police)

A Jordanian citizen living illegally in Israel was arrested last month for holding up a postal bank with a soap bubble gun and then trying to repeat the crime the next day, an Israeli police spokesperson said Thursday.

The suspect had apparently attached a syringe filled with a red liquid to the colorful plastic gun and gave clerks a Hebrew note in which he threatened to infect them with AIDS if they did not hand over the cash.

Police said the suspect, 24, was due for a hearing at the Beersheba District Court later Thursday. Prosecutors said last week they intended to file charges against him.

The stick-up spree began on January 20 when the suspect robbed a postal bank in a commercial center of the southern city of Beersheba. With his face covered, he entered the busy bank and passed to a clerk a handwritten note in grammatically awkward Hebrew.

The note was apparently aiming to declare, “A robbery give me the money quick I will stab you with a bloody needle I am sick with AIDS.”

In video of the robbery published by the local Beersheba Net website the thief can be seen pushing in line to deliver the note. A bank clerk then hands over some money while her coworker, seated at an adjacent window, continues to serve other customers apparently unaware of the crime in progress.

Bank staff alerted police to the robbery as soon as the suspect had left the building.

“As the investigation progressed and advanced tools were used, the Israel Police became aware of the identity of a suspect,” the police statement said.

The following morning, police stationed undercover cops at another postal bank, located in the community of Meitar, north east of Beersheba. The suspect arrived and allegedly tried to rob the bank in the same way as the day before. Cops sprang onto him and, after a short struggle, he was overpowered and arrested.

A video published by Beersheba Net showed how the suspect was wrestled to the floor during the arrest.

During questioning police discovered that the suspect was a Jordanian citizen who was in the country illegally and were able to tie him to the earlier robbery in Beersheba.

He has since been held under arrest and his remand was extended several times, police said.

On February 3, prosecutors declared they intend to file indictments and his remand was extended until February 7, police said.

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