1.2 million euros stolen in German robbery of new currency
BERLIN -- The driver and an accomplice got away with 1.2 million euros -- worth $1.08 million -- from a German cash transport truck in what is believed to be the first robbery of Europe's new money, police said Friday.
Police said all seven denominations, from five to 500 euros, were on the truck robbed Thursday near the western town of Giessen.
"One has to expect that all types of bills fell into their hands," said Reinhard Huebner, a spokesman for Giessen prosecutors.
The figure on the euros stolen came from the cash transport company, Securicor, police said. At least $139,000 in German marks also were missing, police said, revising the original figure of up to $2.7 million worth of marks.
The euro will replace local currencies as legal tender in 12 European Union countries on Jan. 1. To give counterfeiters as little time as possible to unravel the money's security features, transports of the new cash went into high gear only this month.
Although the robbery could give counterfeiters a head start, Germany's finance minister defended precautions for the distribution of euros to banks and businesses.
"Everything that can be done is being done," Hans Eichel said on ZDF television. "You would only create chaos by upsetting the well thought-out plans made long in advance. But there never is 100 percent security."
Police said they had no trace of the two suspects, the truck driver and an accomplice, who overpowered and tied up the second officer of the two-man crew.
Central banks in each euro country have mounted major security operations to protect euro transports, but not every shipment is being guarded by police.
Inside jobs are an obvious problem, accounting for six of nine money truck robberies in Germany this year alone, said Harald Olschok of the secure transport industry's national association.