Robber's lust for life gives him away

Michael Felder made a string of mistakes Keystone

A Swiss robber's apparent "joie de vivre" has landed him in jail after he went on a spending spree with his Swiss franc booty in Hamburg, Germany.

This content was published on January 15, 2002 - 12:07

Michael Felder, a senior employee with a Swiss transport security firm, Zürny, allegedly made off with SFr10 million ($6 million) on Friday, while delivering the money from Aargau to the Swiss National Bank in Zurich.

Felder reportedly told the driver of the van to pull up in a car park because of a change of itinerary and then loaded the cash into a rental vehicle, where an accomplice was waiting, before driving off.

It was only when the driver of the armoured car returned to Zürny's headquarters that the crime was detected.

Red-light district

Meanwhile, Felder had crossed the border to Germany. He headed for Hamburg where he checked into the two-star Auto Parkhotel. He then went on a spending spree splurging cash on booze and prostitutes in the city's St Pauli red-light district.

The German-speaking newspaper, "Blick", reported that Felder has a taste for "sun, sand and loose women", which he acquired on numerous trips to Thailand. Faced with a shortage of "sand and sun" in Germany, the 38-year-old from Kloten in canton Zurich spent his cash on champagne, dancers and prostitutes.

The newspaper quoted Felder's mother, before his arrest, as saying: "I hope it does him good, and that the police don't get him straight away. Then at least he'll get something from it."

Mistakes made

But Felder's taste of the high life was cut short by a string of mistakes, which would have made a professional criminal blush. Apart from throwing money about with careless abandon, he didn't even bother to convert his loot into euros and instead paid for his fun with Swiss francs - in Germany.

A fellow reveller noticed Felder's behaviour and decided to tip off the Swiss police. A spokesman for Zurich police said he was "completely taken aback by the phone call".

Felder was arrested shortly afterwards in his hotel room. He offered no resistance and confessed later on Monday afternoon. Police recovered SFr1.15 million of the money in Hamburg.

Aargau police said on Tuesday that they had found a further SFr6.3 million on one of two Spaniards arrested in connection with the robbery. The remaining SFr2.5 million is still missing.

It is not yet known what penalty the failed robber is facing once he is extradited to Switzerland but he likely to face charges of embezzlement or robbery, both of which are punishable with prison terms of up to five years.


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