Moscow police release spectacular footage of shootout with $7 million robber gang
Police say the gang, comprising men from the post-Soviet states of Tajikistan, Moldova and Georgia, staged over 20 daring attacks on armored cash transit vans, grabbing loot worth over 400 million rubles ($7.3 million).
After tracking the group for months, on Wednesday, a special armed unit was sent to intercept the gang on their way to another crime.
The video shows a police van stopping in front of what they say is a stolen Mercedes SUV at a traffic light in central Moscow’s busiest throughway, the Garden Ring. The officers, kitted out in Kevlar vests, surround the car, and start banging on the windows.
But despite being encircled, the car pulls back, then speeds away. Eyewitnesses at the scene said police fired several warning shots, but the vehicle didn’t stop.
The police van then chases the SUV through a narrow street, with officers firing at the car’s wheels to burst a tire. The black Mercedes eventually turns into a quiet courtyard, ramming into several parked cars. Reporters at the scene later said they found more than a dozen holes in the vehicle’s body and windows.
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Next, the suspects attempt to make a getaway by foot, but their only route is the Danilov Monastery, a 16th century Orthodox landmark. As the suspects weave between the churches, they are outnumbered by pursuing police. A gunfight ensues, with one of the gang members hit in the shoulder.
The video then shows officers bundling the offenders into a police car, while one is taken away in an ambulance. Police later said that two pistols, masks, wigs and a sledgehammer used to break the armored glass of transit cars were found inside the getaway car.
Moscow’s police commissioner commended the special forces for conducting a “highly professional” operation without injuries to civilians or police, though some have criticized the choice of location for the arrest.
“Those carrying out the orders were very professional, but those who gave them could have had a re-think, though of course the criminals may have worked out that they were being followed, meaning police had to act. If the gangsters were unaware of the tail, it would have probably been better to catch them in a less public place,” the head of the Moscow police officers’ union Mikhail Pashkin told the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.