Greece’s Terror Squad Hunts Bank Robbers

ATHENS – Greece’ anti-terrorism squad joined police officers in the search for three armed robbers who took 300,000 euros from a bank northeast of the city and later released a hostage.

Wearing wigs as part of disguises, the three walked into a National Bank branch in the town of Paralia Distomou, also known as Aspra Spitia, just before 2 p.m on Aug. 22.

Authorities said they forced staff to open the safe and waited the 10-15 minutes needed for the time delay locks to open. They took the cash and the cashier with them and drove off in a stolen SUV that was found burned at the beach of Aghia Sotira.

There, they jumped into a speedboat and crossed the Corinthian Gulf to Kato Loutro, near Xylokastro. Some 300 to 400 meters before reaching the beach, they pushed the bank employee into the sea.

He swam to safety. The robbers then dumped the boat, which they also set fire to, and got into another car to complete their escape, officials said.

Police said the robbery was similar to a raid at an Alpha Bank branch on the island of Spetses in 2012. Then, the robbers made off with 474,000 euros. Police linked that robbery with Revolutionary Struggle leader Nikos Maziotis, who is currently in police custody and whose members have vowed to avenge his apprehension.

Greek terrorists have taken millions of euros in bank robberies to finance their activities and authorities fear there could be a spate of violence again.