France hunts for security driver in big bank heist

AP News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2009 4:59 PM

French police conducted a nationwide search Friday for a security driver who vanished with euro11 million ($7.4 million) in cash from a bank in the central city of Lyon, authorities said.

Lyon prosecutor Xavier Richard said the 39-year-old suspect appeared to have acted alone and prepared his escape in advance. A police search revealed that the suspect's apartment was empty, there were no sheets on the bed and the refrigerator was empty.

Police were on the lookout at all major airports Friday as well as French border points for the suspect, a single man with no children. Other police forces in members of the visa-free Schengen zone for European citizens also were alerted. By nightfall Friday, the suspect was still on the loose.

The driver had picked up the money Thursday at the Banque de France branch in Lyon with two other security workers. They then stopped at another bank and while the two other security workers were inside that bank, the driver made off with the cash, which represents a large heist by French standards.

The suspect had worked for Loomis France, the No. 1 French company specialized in transporting money and valuables, for 10 years, a company statement said Friday. Loomis identified the alleged thief as Tony Musulin.

Muslin remained at the wheel of the security truck while the two other colleagues went into collect money in another Lyon bank Thursday morning. The vehicle was recovered several hours later, but the driver was nowhere to be found, the Loomis statement said. Richard said the truck had been found in an isolated location near railway lines.

Musulin never had any trouble at Loomis before the theft, Loomis said. The company has reinforced its security procedures as a result of the robbery, the statement said.

The suspect had emptied his own bank accounts and even was overdrawn on one of them, Richard said.

The stolen money was new bills and investigators have no record of the numbers which could make it easier to disperse them, Richard added.

As no violence was involved in the theft, Musulin risks only three years in jail if caught and charged.