Driver, daughter in French cash van kidnap ‘heist’ arrested

Pietro Lamberti, a social services worker was convicted in February 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison for sexual acts with a minor. — AFP pic
Pietro Lamberti, a social services worker was convicted in February 2011 and sentenced to five years in prison for sexual acts with a minor. — AFP pic

LYON, Feb 13 — French police have arrested a cash van driver and his daughter, who claimed she was held to ransom while a gang robbed millions from her father’s vehicle in Switzerland, police sources said today.

The father, daughter and a colleague of the father were taken into custody in Lyon yesterday, four days after they reported being the victims of a heist resembling the plot of a Hollywood movie.

The 22-year-old daughter told police she was kidnapped from her apartment in the southeastern French city of Lyon by two men posing as plumbers.

She said the men bundled her into a car, tied her up and forced her to telephone her father who works for SOS Surveillance, a Swiss company that transports cash in armoured vans, to demand a ransom.

The father, who was en route with a colleague to the Swiss city of Lausanne with a cash delivery, then agreed to meet the kidnappers in a car park near the border with France and hand over the van’s contents, the story went.

French police last week estimated the loot at 20-30 million Swiss francs (RM82.7 million-RM126 million).

The daughter was found unharmed at around 10pm on a road outside Lyon and appeared “very shocked” by her ordeal, police said at the time.

Investigators now appear to suspect it was an inside job.

Swiss authorities had appealed for witnesses to come forward over the robbery and said they were looking for three men with accented French, “maybe from the south of France or North Africa”. — AFP

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