Driver suspected in Bank of France van heist

Fri Nov 6, 2009 9:34am EST
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LYON, France (Reuters) - French police are looking for the driver of a security van suspected of driving off with more than 10 million euros ($14.85 million) after the man vanished, apparently after first clearing out his flat.

The van disappeared early Thursday after the three-member crew took delivery of the cash at a branch of the Bank of France in the southeastern city of Lyon.

While they were making their delivery rounds, two crew members who had left the driver alone returned to find the van had disappeared. It was found abandoned later in the day.

"The suspicion is directed at the driver," state prosecutor Xavier Richaud told i-tele television Friday.

"We went to search his place and were surprised to discover the flat was unoccupied, almost cleared out, the refrigerator was empty and we couldn't find his papers," he said.

"It's as though he had prepared his escape beforehand."

(Reporting by Nicolas Bertin and Catherine Lagrange; Writing by James Mackenzie, editing by Paul Casciato)