SARAJEVO (Reuters) - A Bosnian court jailed four members of a special Bosnian Serb police unit for robbing a bank van of 617,000 Bosnian marka ($350,000) using automatic rifles and an anti-tank missile launcher, local media reported on Monday.
The heist occurred in September 2015 when heavily-armed robbers held up the vehicle belonging to the Bosnian branch of Italian bank Unicredit on a highway in Bosnia’s autonomous Serb Republic. One security guard was wounded.
The Banja Luka district court sentenced three suspended special police unit members to 11 years in prison each. One of them, Vladan Malic, was found guilty of initiating and organising the heist, detektor.ba publication quoted the chairman of the court’s council, Olga Pantic, as saying.
The fourth member was jailed for nine years. Another three policemen who were also involved in the robbery admitted the crime and testified against their accomplices, Pantic said, according to detektor.ba.
“A specially aggravating circumstance for the defenders is that they were members of the Republika Srpska Interior Ministry special police unit and harmed the reputation of the ministry,” Pantic said.
Bosnia’s two autonomous regions, the Serb Republic and the Bosniak-Croat Federation, have their own separate police forces alongside a national police force.
(1$ = 1.747 Bosnian marka)
Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Toby Chopra