Downtown bank spectacularly robbed through basement

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 9, 2016 10:49

bankTIRANA, Aug. 8 – Two senior officials of a leading commercial bank in Albania have been arrested after a key branch in downtown Tirana was spectacularly robbed last weekend when thieves managed to escape with 21 million lek (Euro 152,000) untroubled by guards and security systems.

Police arrested Tuesday Luigj Gjonaj, 50, the director of the Blloku branch of Turkish-run BKT bank and Florjan Skarra, 36, the bank’s security chief, for their alleged involvement in the spectacular heist last Sunday when robbers managed to break into the bank facilities from a basement after digging for three days and opened the bank’s vault. Police said the two senior officials neglected taking measures when the alarm went off.

Last July, two unidentified armed and masked men managed to break into the Vlora branch of the Turkish-owned BKT bank and rob at gunpoint the daily turnover, facing no resistance by private guards and the police.

The bank’s robbery was the third in the past month after a Euro 1 million heist at the international airport just outside Tirana, where money being taken to a plane on behalf of a commercial bank, apparently Raiffeisen Bank, was robbed at gunpoint from an armored vehicle.

It was the third time in the past 18 months huge amounts of money being transported by security companies on behalf of local commercial banks was spectacularly stolen in broad daylight in downtown Tirana and just outside the capital with the perpetrators unidentified in all cases.

A currency exchange store and a liquid gas point in Fushe-Kruja, central Albania, were also robbed on Monday.

Opposition Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha blamed the government for lack of rule of law.

“Two businesses robbed at the heart of the country and the bank’s heist in central Tirana are the alarm bells that ring incessantly for total insecurity and the abandonment that [PM] Edi Rama has made to the key duty of guaranteeing rule of law,” said Basha.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 9, 2016 10:49