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FRANCE

Police recover most of the 11 million euros stolen in security van heist

Text by: NEWS WIRES
2 min

French police have announced that they have found 9 out of the 11.6 million euros stolen by a French security van driver in a rented car hidden in a lock-up garage.

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AFP - French police said Monday they have recovered nine of 11.6 million euros (17.2 million dollars) stolen from a security van but were still hunting for the vehicle's missing driver.

Investigators on Saturday found packets of cash -- ranging from five-euro notes to 100-euro notes -- in a rented car in a lock-up garage in the central city of Lyon near where the money disappeared on Thursday.

Toni Musulin, the 39-year-old driver for the Loomis armoured car firm, has become a Internet sensation since Thursday, when his truck was abandoned in Lyon and 49 sacks of cash were found missing.

Investigators told AFP the suspect has roots in the former Yugoslavia and may have fled to the Balkans. Interpol has issued an alert to all 185 of its member states asking for any information about his habits or whereabouts.

Prosecutor Xavier Richaud said that "at the current stage of the inquiry" Musulin is the one who rented the garage and the car and went off with the money, adding that "he acted alone."

The garage had been rented under a false name since April, investigators said.    

Musulin declared his Ferrari sports car stolen in April, according to investigators. He had also emptied his bank accounts and his apartment before the heist, leading to suspicion of an inside job.

The daring heist has turned Musulin into an Internet sensation with several Facebook pages appearing overnight to praise France's new hero.

"The World is Yours: Tony Best Driver 2009" page has been drawing a steady stream of comments describing the theft as "the heist of the century".

Facebook users have created a "Tony Musulin for president" page, while members of the "Tony Musulin fan club" said he was a "hero" for his "no guns, no violence" approach.

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