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Switzerland: The Polite Bank Robber!

By Dr Thilo Pachmann, Partner, Pachmann Attorneys, Zurich, Switzerland

A little light relief for our readers in these worrying and stressful COVID-19 times!

The deeds date back to 2017 and 2018 and relate to five robberies in Berne, Switzerland, and the surrounding area, where a bank robber got away with amounts of 10,000 – 18,000 Swiss Francs each time.

The man started the bank robberies because his craft shop went bankrupt and he got into financial difficulties.

Initially, the man received unemployment benefits, but, after a while, he gave them up and told his wife he had got a job again.

Since this was not the case, he was forced to find his money elsewhere.

When he read in the newspaper about a man who had robbed a bank without a gun, he saw this as a solution to his problems.

A little later, he tried it out for himself.

The man put on sunglasses, entered the bank in Kontz and stood in a queue of waiting people until a counter became free. When it was his turn, he handed the employee a sheet of paper containing the short text as follows:

This is a bank robbery …. Pay out 18,000 Swiss Francs in bills of 200 Francs. If you do not cooperate: I have a gun and will shoot everyone.”

To his own astonishment, this robbery went off without a hitch and the bank clerk handed over the money to him, although only 11,000 Swiss Francs. He used the money to pay the bills; after which he actually wanted to stop.

But as new bills were constantly coming in, he raided other banks in a similar manner. Sometimes, he even thanked staff who handed over the money to him or followed the request of a bank employee to get rid of his hood.

The robberies made the headlines because the man’s face was clearly visible on the surveillance videos and the Police were still in the dark for more than a year.

The series of robberies did not end until the fifth robbery which took place in Worb when a bank clerk sounded the silent alarm.

Recently, the bank robber has been sentenced by the Regional Court of Berne-Mittleland to three years’ imprisonment for predatory blackmailing of which he must serve six months!

Dr Thilo Pachmann may be contacted by e-mail at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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