Third euro heist hits Italy
PALERMO, Sicily -- Italy has suffered its third euro heist in the run-up to the introduction of the new currency on January 1.
About 100,000 euros ($90,000) was taken in the latest robbery at a branch of Banca Popolare di Lodi on the outskirts of Palermo, Salvatore Mulone, a city police inspector said.
The robbers left a trail of money outside the bank after one of the bundles, which had a explosive device hidden in it for security reasons, went off.
Last month three armed robbers dressed in wigs stole 260,000 euros ($228,500) from a Banca di Roma branch on the outskirts of Rome after tying and gagging the bank employees.
In September a gang of heavily armed men stole about 5,000 new euro coins from a postal safe in the southern town of Bari.
Italy is not the only country to have fallen victim to thieves before the new single currency becomes legal tender.
About 1.2 million euros were taken from a security van in Giessen, north of Frankfurt, Germany, in September although police recouped most of the money a few weeks later.
The euro enters circulation in 12 countries on New Year's Day, though so-called starter kits have already gone on sale.
Fifty billion new coins and 14.5 billion new banknotes will become legal tender in the 12 countries which have chosen to adopt a single currency and become part of "euroland" on New Year's Day.
The 12 participating countries are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain.
Banca di Roma
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