Nowhere to run for bank robber in Arctic Svalbard

A man robbed a bank on Svalbard, but was caught before he could flee the Arctic archipelago. (Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer)
There were few ways to escape for the man who robbed the bank in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Friday.

He threatened with a gun and grabbed with him an uncertain sum of cash. But the thrill of the bank robber did not last long.

Where was he going to run away?

The archipelago of Svalbard is located in the high Arctic, almost 1,000 km from mainland Norway. And the town of Longyearbyen has only few small roads leading into the surrounding desolate tundra.

And if he was to try to make it into the wilderness, he would risk being snatched by a polar bear.

The local police soon caught the man, the Svalbard Governor’s office informed Friday.

The robber is himself not from the island. He was to be sent to Tromsø, mainland Norway, and there be charged, the local authorities said.

Svalbard has a population of about 2,500 people, most of whom live in the administrative center of Longyearbyen. Locals include mostly workers in the coal mine, the university center and the tourism industry.

It is the Sparebank1 that operates the bank in Longyearbyen. It is located on 78 degrees North. Because of the many polar bears in the area, locals are allowed to carry guns.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Somebody broke into an Arctic Canadian village’s power plant and shut off the electricity, CBC News

Finland: Police in Northern Finland overstretched, says retiring officer, YLE News

Norway: Norway releases Russian man detained over suspicion of espionage, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Cross-border Nordic policing would better serve Arctic: politician, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska’s crime rates are soaring, stats show, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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