An armed man entered an Apple store located in the center of the city of Amsterdam to take a subject hostage and then demand a payment of about USD $225 million in cryptocurrency.
The offender entered the establishment at 5:30 p.m. with a pistol and an automatic rifle, according to Dutch News.
Almost immediately afterwards, he took a member of the store hostage. The offender aimed at the hostage and fired into the air to scare the rest of the people in the store.
Police said there were about 70 people in the store when the man entered, some of whom hid in a closet in the lower part of the building due to the shock of the attack.
“They lived in terror for hours,” said Deputy Mayor Rutger Groot Wassink, who was quoted by the news outlet.
He threatened to blow himself up and demanded payment in crypto
According to a police report, the offender reportedly phoned law enforcement to demand payment in cryptocurrencies in exchange for releasing the hostage safely.
The hostage-taker, who was dressed in a jacket that simulated having explosives attached to it, had threatened to blow himself up if his demands were not met.
Inside, the suspect immediately took one person hostage. He himself telephoned the police and demanded 200 million in cryptocurrencies and a safe conduct of the property. The suspect held the hostage continuously at gunpoint and also threatened to blow himself up.
“The suspect had a gun pointed at his hostage the entire time and threatened to blow himself up,” police chief Frank Paauw told Dutch News. He added that authorities believe the hostage-taker did not know the number of people inside the establishment.
The attacker allegedly opened fire on police when they arrived on the scene. Eyewitnesses reported hearing at least four shots.
Two hours later, around 10:30 p.m., the shooter reportedly approached the officers and asked for a glass of water. During the time it took the hostage taker to open the doors and take his drink, the hostage managed to escape. The perpetrator was then knocked out by an armored vehicle driven by Special Intervention Service (ISD) agents.
The attacker was taken to hospital in poor health, although conscious, as he was able to speak in the ambulance, according to reports. Local police also provided information via their Twitter account early Wednesday:
‘The suspect has since been taken to the hospital. At the moment, we are still conducting a thorough investigation at the Apple Store in Leidseplein.
The hostage and the other people inside the store were unharmed after the incident. Amsterdam police chief Frank Pauw praised the courage shown by the hostage, a 44-year-old British man who was a customer in the building. “The hostage played a heroic role in forcing a breakthrough. Otherwise this could have been a long night,” he told the BBC.
Virtually from the moment of the incident, images and videos of the captive and the hostage-taker began circulating on social media, with one photograph showing the two individuals sitting together inside the store. Police identified the attacker, a 27-year-old man from Amsterdam, although they did not reveal his identity.