Lyon robbers. During the attack in Lyon, six defendants were caught in the “flag of the century”

On Monday 22 November, the trial of six men found with their hands in the bags of the police opens a heavy bundle of around 38 million euros. One of the biggest successes of the Lyon anti-gang brigade, the “flag of the century”.

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It was “the theft of the century”. The largest robberies in Switzerland. The palm of Lyon banditry. Almost 40 million Swiss francs in exchange, or almost 38 million euros. Three and a half times Toni Musulin’s record. In a few hours, the glory changed sides. The affair has become the “flag of the century”. With the arrest of the alleged Lyon team counting banknotes, hands in the bag, just hours after the attack on an armored van filled with currency and precious stones, in Eysins, in the canton of Vaud. One of the greatest successes in the rich history of the Lyon anti-gang brigade.

The six men, aged 33 to 51, who are accused of having put together the command of high-flying, will be prosecuted from Monday 22 November and for ten days for theft with an organized gang, kidnapping, destruction by fire and concealment of vehicle theft. Some are in legal recidivism, most have a marked legal history. The case continues all the ingredients of the Lyon crime projected in Switzerland.

27 640 gemstones

On May 24, 2017, during the night, an armored van from the Loomis company was stuck in a highway intersection in the canton of Vaud by three powerful cars. Thieves get up from vehicles and wave storm rifles. One of them puts a frame on the van’s windshield with a small red flashing light indicating that an explosive charge is about to explode.

Forced to surrender, the two transporters are tied up and taken to the trunk of a car, while an assailant takes the wheel of the van to a distant path in Divonne-les-Bains in Ain. The robbers note various currencies, four gold bars and 27,640 gems. Then they set fire to the vehicles.

Under surveillance for several months

A few hours later, the Research and Intervention Brigade (BRI) questioned a team suspected of the robbery of a villa in Chavanod (Haute Savoie) under the Lyon police. The prey is found loosely in sacks. An arsenal has been discovered: five Winchester and Kalashnikov rifles, two Sig Sauer automatic pistols and a Ruger revolver. The success of the police is commensurate with the malaise of the suspected robbers. The team had been under anti-gang surveillance for several months. Information, surveillance, sound systems, investigators had surprised meetings and discovered boxes in the Annecy region as well as a drop-off point. Their hiding place was surrounded as soon as the Swiss authorities reported the robbery of the van.

At trial, the room for maneuver will be narrow for the defendant. Most had no choice but to acknowledge their presence in the attack while trying to downplay their role. Sometimes in a daring way. A suspect claimed he was simply recruited to see the house in a lounge chair! In the alleged team, two defendants had already marked themselves in Switzerland, sentenced in 2013 in Geneva to four and seven years in prison for “robbery”, the Swiss synonym for armed robbery.

Top 5 armored car attacks in Switzerland

  • May 24, 2017 Eysins, canton of Vaud.

A Loomis van is being towed over by three cars. A robber puts an explosive frame on the windshield. The two carriers leave, are tied up and taken near Divonne-les-Bains (Ain). The alleged commando soldier has been arrested under the flag of the anti-gang brigade in Lyon. Exchange: 38.8 million Swiss francs. Six suspects are charged from November 22, 2021.

  • February 8, 2018. Chavornay, Canton of Vaud.

A van is intercepted on the motorway between Lausanne and Geneva, while the daughter of a courier is kidnapped in Lyon. Exchange: 25 million Swiss francs, including two million found at a recipient in Ain. Eleven suspects charged in the current investigation.

  • June 20, 2019. Mont-sur-Lausanne.

Shortly after midnight, a van was blocked by several cars and the couriers were forced to surrender under threat of combat rifles. The vehicles are then set on fire. Exchange: 25 million Swiss francs. Eight suspects
was arrested in November 2020.

  • August 23, 2019. La Sarraz, near Lausanne.

A command blocks two vans with several cars. Shots, explosive. Exchange: 10 million euros. Seven suspects have been charged and jailed in October 2020. Investigation underway.

  • December 2, 2019. Daillens, Canton of Vaud.

A van from the Swiss Post is stuck on a small road. The vehicles are on fire. Exchange: 20 million Swiss francs. Five suspects were arrested.

Richard Schittly

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