Wanted German gangsters killed during hold-up: authorities

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German authorities said Saturday that two bank robbers killed during a shoot-out with police during a heist were likely the so-called "Gentlemen gangsters", suspected of a string of hold-ups since 1995.

The married couple, a 38-year-old woman and a 40-year-old man, died during a firefight which took place late Friday at a bank in Karlsruhe, southwest Germany.

Media reports said the woman took her own life after seeing her accomplice killed by police bullets. A 28-year-old female police officer was also seriously injured in the shoot-out.

"According to our investigations, the dead robbers are very likely to be the couple wanted for years who have unfortunately achieved a level of notoriety under the misleading name 'Gentlemen gangsters'," prosecutors in Karlsruhe said.

They were suspected of carrying out no fewer than 21 armed robberies since 1995, getting away with a total of around two million euros (2.6 million dollars).

During this latest robbery, they forced bank officials at gunpoint to hand over "tens of thousands of euros", prosecutors said.

Authorities found Czech identity papers on the couple.

They obtained their nickname by acting with extreme politeness to the employees of the banks they robbed, often apologising for the inconvenience their actions were causing.

In their early career, the married couple had another accomplice but appears to have acted as a duo since 2004, according to police.

© 2010 AFP

1 Comment To This Article

  • MW posted:

    on 11th December 2010, 20:59:39 - Reply

    Same article on the BBC site, is that Gunther von Hagens in the background picture on the right???


    For those who don't know who he is, he is the surgeon on the BBC - Autopsy Life and Death videos.