Bandits rob millions in Italian highway heist

Bandits in northern Italy stole millions from an armored truck, then spread nails on the road to slow down police.

ROME  — Bandits armed with Kalashnikovs stole an estimated $2.6 million Monday by setting a big-rig truck on fire to block a highway in northern Italy and then blowing open an armored truck, a company official said.

No one was injured in the heist, said Marco Meletti, a spokesman for the Gruppo Battistolli armored transport company.

Meletti told the Italian news agency ANSA that gunmen blocked two armored delivery trucks on a high-speed highway that leads toward Switzerland near the town of Saronno. Some news reports put the amount of booty at $13 million but Meletti denied that figure.

The gang set the rig on fire and used an explosive charge to break into one of the armored vehicles, Italian news reports quoted investigators as saying.

ANSA said the bandits, about 10 of them according to investigators, escaped by car after strewing nails on the road to slow down police. The escape cars were later found abandoned near a farmhouse.

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