Europe

Austrian police arrest 'Obama-mask bank robber'

The Obama robber enters the bank in Handenberg, Austria, 20 January
Image caption Police believe the "Obama robber" has carried out a string of raids dating back to 2008

Police in Austria have arrested a man suspected of robbing banks while wearing a mask of US President Barack Obama.

The man was arrested after an armed robbery in Fornach, north-east of Salzburg, in Upper Austria.

Police said a bank employee was held at gunpoint before the robber fled the scene in a car.

At least six other armed raids have been carried out by the man Austrian media have dubbed the "Obama robber".

Reports say the latest robbery happened on Thursday afternoon and the man was arrested about an hour later in a nearby wood.

Police spokesman Markus Mitlohner said officers had found a mask, a weapon and stolen money in the wood. Mr Mitlohner told Austrian media that the suspect is a German citizen.

Old-man mask

The masked raids date back to 2008, when the robber wore an old-man mask. Police say he switched to the Obama mask in 2009.

Following the "Obama robber's" previous raid in the town of Handenberg in January, police said his technique never changed - only his getaway cars.

He turns up in a mask just before closing time, brandishing a silver pistol and a black shoulder bag.

Detectives said at the time he speaks the local dialect but could also be from Bavaria, just across the border in Germany.

It was believed the robber had escaped with 10,000 euros (£8,000, $13,000) in Handenberg although his biggest haul was 40,000 euros in July 2009, the Austrian news website krone.at said.

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