Kidnapper in Bulgaria's Sliven Still Barricaded, Threatens Suicide

Crime | March 24, 2011, Thursday // 16:47|  views

27-year-old Stefan Petrov has locked himself in a safety vault inside the bank branch, and refuses to surrender 24 hours after his failed robbery attempt. Photo by bTV

27-year-old Stefan Petrov, who took hostages when trying to rob a bank in Bulgaria’s Sliven, has threatened to commit suicide and has refused to surrender 24 hours after the onset of the incident.

Petrov, a security guard, tried to rob a local branch of Investbank, which is owned by Bulgarian businesswoman Petya Slavova, at 4 pm on Wednesday but the bank office staff managed to alert the police. This led to a shootout, and to Petrov taking six hostages, which he released overnight as a result of talks with the police and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, who was on the spot.

As of the late afternoon on Thursday, however, the robber-turned-kidnapper was still barricaded inside the bank office, and refused to surrender, threatening to kill himself. After he released the last hostage, he locked himself inside a safety vault, and refused to get out.

After numerous confusing reports, Petrov’s identity was established by the police. He is a native of the village of Korten, and is orphaned since 2006.

The hostages, most of whom were kept captive by the robber for 18 hours, are in a good health condition. The condition of the 42-year-old security guard who was wounded by the robber is stable after he was rushed in the Sliven hospital.

Speaking late Thursday afternoon, Bulgaria’s Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said he hoped Stefan Petrov would surrender within a few hours.

Tsvetanov refuted various reports about Petrov’s motives saying that his only goal was to rob the bank, which had just received about BGN 1 M for the salaries of the employees of the local government.

The Interior Minister revealed that during the entire time of the hostage crisis one of the bank employees was hidden in a room inside the building. The robber was not aware of her presence, and she managed to communicate with the police.

Upon taking the hostages after the failed robbery, Petrov admitted to them that he made a mistake having done what he did which he deemed unforgivable.

According to Shteryo Shterev, head of the security firm which employed Petrov in the past year, the robber was a strict worker, and has not made any indications of an unruly behavior.

“Stefan is an orphan, without relatives or a girlfriend. He doesn’t speak about his personal life. He has not complained of having financial difficulties. He is a very good boy. Probably loneliness is his only problem,” Shterev told bTV.

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Tags: Stefan Petrov, Sliven, Hostages, hostage, robber, bank robbery, robbery, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Interior Minister, Investbank


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