Cash Couriers Robbed During Football Game

As much of the city was engrossed in a football match, armed assailants attacked two cash couriers delivering money to a Russky Standart bank branch in southwestern Moscow, killing one and briefly making off with millions of rubles.

The couriers, Mikhail Kochetkov and Alexander Kravets, exited their armored vehicle outside the branch on Ulitsa Trofimova, near the Kozhukovskaya metro station, just after midnight Friday, while many Muscovites were watching the Russian national football team lose to Spain in the Euro 2008 semifinal.

The attackers, hiding in a black BMW, sprayed the couriers with automatic gunfire and made off with the bags of cash, city police spokesman Maxim Polutsvetov said.

Kochetkov, 44, died on the spot from his wounds, while Kravets survived and remained conscious long enough to give police officers a description of the car and the attackers before being taken to the hospital, where he was in serious condition over the weekend, Gazeta.ru reported.

Police managed to give chase to the fleeing robbers, another city police spokesman, Viktor Biryukov, said.

"After some time, the assailants were trapped in a dead end but were able to escape," Biryukov told Interfax.

"But before disappearing, the criminals succeeded in setting fire to their car, where they had abandoned bags of money from the cash couriers."

Police later found more bags of money abandoned near train tracks nearby, Gazeta.ru reported, citing a law enforcement source.

A police source told Interfax that the assailants stole more than 2 million rubles ($85,000). It was unclear exactly how much money police managed to recover.

Russky Standart said in an e-mailed statement that it would provide Kochetkov's family with financial compensation and psychological counseling. Kravets was alive and receiving the necessary medical treatment, the bank said.

It also said it would offer a reward for information leading to the arrest of the attackers.

No suspects had been detained as of Sunday, and Biryukov asked anyone who witnessed the crime to contact police, Interfax reported.

Security experts say attacks on cash couriers are almost always carried out with the help of a company employee -- known as a krysa, or rat -- who can give the exact time and location for a planned cash transfer.