Crime Watch

Guard Steals From Bank to Pay Off a Bank Loan

Aug 09, 2006
The Moscow Times

A security guard stole 18,000 rubles ($675) from the bank where he worked and was caught trying to use the money to pay back a loan to the same bank, police said.

ZelakBank in Moscow's northwest Zelenograd district was closed to customers because of the Navy Day holiday on July 23 when the theft occurred, and security guards were drinking, Zelenograd police spokeswoman Irina Raspopova said.

Throughout the day, however, cash couriers were delivering money to the bank in armored vehicles.

Sometime during the day, one of the couriers noticed that a bag containing around $10,000 in ruble notes was missing and immediately reported the problem to his superior.

"They looked everywhere for the missing bag before going to police," Raspopova said. "They were hoping they could fix the problem on their own."

They eventually found the missing bag in a trash can in the bank, but when they counted the wad of bills inside, they discovered 18,000 rubles missing from the original sum of about 270,000 rubles.

Police quickly compiled a list of about 20 suspects, including the bank security guards and the cash couriers.

But the day after the theft, one of the suspects, a 28-year-old security guard from the Moscow region city of Solnechnogorsk, gave himself away, Raspopova said.

"The next day, he paid off a significant amount of a loan he had taken out from the bank itself," she said. "It was a bit strange. He hadn't received his salary yet, and all of a sudden he had a wad of cash."

The guard was arrested the same day and has since been charged with theft.

If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison.

The suspect has admitted to taking the money, Raspopova said. "He said he spent some of it on gambling machines, and the rest he used to pay back the loan," she said.

A woman who answered the phone at the bank said Monday that no bank officials were available to comment and suggested contacting the bank's security service.

Vladimir Piltayev, deputy head of the bank's security service, said he was not authorized to comment on the incident.

Neither Raspopova nor Piltayev knew what the suspect had intended to purchase with the bank loan.

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