Hostage-takers steal €7M from Bank of Ireland

A Bank of Ireland employee was coerced into stealing an estimated €7 million ($9 million) from his own branch Friday, police said, after a gang took his family hostage and threatened to kill them unless he cooperated. So-called "tiger kidnappings" - when gangs seize families of bank officials and force them to breach their employers' security - are common crimes in Ireland, a close-knit society where criminals can closely track their targets. But they typically involve thefts below €1 million. Friday's operation represented by far the biggest robbery in the history of the Republic of Ireland. It nonetheless paled in comparison with a similar 2004 raid in the neighboring British territory of Northern Ireland, when two Northern Bank employees were forced to help a gang take more than 26 million pounds ($50 million) from the bank's central Belfast vault.