Police have arrested four men accused of planning a bank robbery in Ixelles in Brussels. The press are already united in referring to the group as the “grandpa gangsters,” as the four men are aged between 52 and 64 years old.
A special investigations unit had been forewarned of the attempted robbery, and were in place when the four set out to rob the bank. “The robbers were arrested just before they could take action,” a police spokesperson said. “The first bank employee arrived to work just minutes later.”
According to one source, the target was a bank branch close to the Ixelles cemetery.
“During the arrest, the two oldest robbers were in possession of two stolen vehicles, a firearm, a grenade, explosives with a detonator, ammunition, bullet-proof vests, police uniforms and plastics strips to tie up possible victims,” the prosecutor’s office explained.
“A third suspect was arrested in a high-voltage cabin on the bank’s own parking lot, preparing to cut off the electricity to the bank. The fourth suspect was on the other side of the road, acting as look-out.”
One of the men, Djurica Djordjevic (photo), otherwise known as Duckie, was connected in the 1980s with the gang of Patrick Haemers, a suspect in the Brabant Killers gang and arrested for the kidnap of former prime minister Paul Vanden Boeynants. Haemers later committed suicide in prison.
Another of the suspects, Koenraad Spitaels, was associated with another prominent gangster, Marcel Habrans, sentenced to 15 years for the robbery of a security van but released in 2016 with an electronic ankle-band at the age of 82.