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The robbery in progress - he was caught minutes later

Desperate dad robs bank to give Xmas presents to kids

A jobless father-of-three was arrested in front of his wife and children after he robbed a bank next door to his flat in Wiener Neustadt south of the Austrian capital Vienna in order to get money to buy Christmas presents for his three boys.

35-year-old Gerhard A. told detectives he was desperate to have money to pay the bills and give his family a decent Christmas, and so he had grabbed a plastic gun from his son and marched into the bank next door to demand cash.

But he was caught within minutes when police sealed off the area around the bank and realised that the robber must still be nearby. A house search quickly resulted in the discovery of ther man, who was caught red-handed with a toy gun, and the money.

He was handcuffed in front of his tearful children and shocked wife Petra, who is currently on maternity leave, and he is now in investigative custody where he is certain to remain throughout Christmas.

On his Facebook page he writes: "My motto is that every day not spent with family where you can tell them that you love them is a day that is wasted."

Prior to the robbery he also posted a note saying: "You can't catch luck, you either have it or you don't. It is like glass – if you hold it too tightly you break it. It is like a flower, if you don't care for it it wilts and dies. I am a happy person and I love to laugh, I love to have fun."

He added that his family was everything to him.

Police spokeswoman Manuela Weinkirn said: "He was masked and demanded the money using a note – when he left he told bank staff not to call the police because he had a bomb.

"He managed to escape were several thousand euros but he didn't have it for very long.

"After his arrest he admitted the robbery of the bank and we have already recovered the money, the toy pistol that was used as well as the mask and a piece of paper on which the cash demand was written."

Nobody was injured in the robbery.

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