In midday heist, robber escapes with 24 million won

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In midday heist, robber escapes with 24 million won

Police are currently searching for a robbery suspect who made off with about 24 million won ($20,746) from an MG Community Credit Cooperatives branch in southern Seoul.

According to authorities, the incident occurred at about 12:20 p.m. on Monday afternoon, when the suspect walked into the financial institute in Jamwon-dong in Seocho District, and demanded money, threatening a bank customer with a weapon that looked like a firearm.

The man used the customer as a hostage, police said, with what is thought to have been a tear gas grenade gun and pressed bank officials for cash.

At the time, there were only three to four employees at the branch and no security guards were present, though the bank’s security system was working.

The suspect put about 24 million won worth of cash in a black backpack and left the scene via motorcycle toward Sinsa Station, southern Seoul.

According to police, it took the man two to three minutes to rob the bank.

“The police were alerted when one employee pressed the emergency bell while the suspect put the money in his bag,” the bank official said. “Because the customers’ safety was top priority, we had no choice but to do what he asked.”

By the time the police arrived at the scene, the gunman had already fled. Law enforcement said it had secured nearby CCTV footage, but it did not provide a clear shot of the motorcycle’s license plate.

A police official said on Monday that authorities will pursue the suspect based on employees’ statements and CCTV footage. The source added that the man’s motivation and weapon had not yet been confirmed, as the suspect’s identity and whereabouts are still unclear.

Police have searched through footage from about 100 CCTV cameras around Sinsa Station, but have so far failed to find any clues. Local police have also distributed flyers describing the suspect and put out a 10 million won reward. The description was based on CCTV recordings of the suspect in the bank and on nearby roads, they said.

The gunman is believed to be in his 30s or 40s and wore a black motorcycle helmet, a white long-sleeve shirt and dark-colored jeans, authorities said. He also had a black backpack.

BY YUN JUNG-MIN, NAM YOON-SEO [nam.yoonseo@joongang.co.kr]

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