French robber behind "perfect crime" surrenders

PARIS Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:29pm IST

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PARIS (Reuters) - The driver of a security van who vanished earlier this month with more than 11 million euros ($16.5 million) in cash has surrendered to police in Monaco, French authorities said on Monday.

Toni Musulin disappeared with his vehicle while on a delivery round in the eastern French city of Lyon on Nov. 5, shortly after taking charge of sacks of cash from a local branch of the Bank of France.

The heist, which admirers said appeared to be the perfect crime, turned Musulin into a folk hero with Facebook groups, a flood of Twitter entries and at least one website presenting him as a plucky underdog turned criminal mastermind.

One firm even started selling t-shirts emblazoned with Musulin's face.

But on Nov. 9, Musulin's plans started to go awry as police found most of his booty, more than 9 million euros, in a garage in Lyon that he had rented out under an assumed name.

Then, after two weeks on the run, Musulin turned himself in on Monday, a French police spokesman said, declining to say why.

Just after the disappearance, police had found Musulin's flat had been cleared out and his bank accounts emptied, suggesting that he had been preparing his coup for some time. The security van was found abandoned shortly afterwards.

(Reporting by Thierry Leveque; Writing by James Mackenzie)

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