A bank robber with a pistol and a home-made bomb picked the wrong bank to rob in Austria Monday when an 82-year-old grandmother struck him with her handbag and ripped his mask off, shouting: "if you want money get a job!"
It was 10:45am when Hertha Wallecker, 82, stopped at a bank on Monday in the village of Sankt Egyden in eastern Austria to make a deposit into her funeral savings account, when a masked robber stormed in, brandishing a pistol and a home-made bomb, The Telegraph reported Wednesday.
"I've got a bomb – I only want the big notes," he shouted.
"I thought, this can not be," Wallecker said.
So the octogenarian struck him with her handbag and pulled off his mask.
“I sneaked up from behind him and simply ripped the mask off,” Wallecker told the Kurier newspaper.
Completely taken aback, the armed robber put the mask back on and demanded a cashier to fill his bag with money.
"I've got a bomb – keep away." he warned the 82-year-old.
That wasn't going to happen. Wallecker grabbed the mask a second time – this time flinging it over the bank counter, "so he couldn't put it back on," the spry octogenarian said.
Wallecker then grabbed the plastic bag filled with cash and tore it while trying to wrestle it out of his hands, AFP reported.
She told him: "That's the bank's money, if you want money get a job you lazy devil."
At this point the robber decided he had enough and fled to a getaway car waiting outside the bank, leaving the cash behind The Telegraph said.
But thanks to the security camera images as well as the fingerprint evidence on the bag and the fact that the robber, identified later as Gerhard P., 62, had dropped his bomb he was quickly caught and is now under arrest, The Austrian Times reported.
"He was pretty well equipped – the bomb included real explosives and he even had a getaway driver in the form of his girlfriend parked outside," said police spokesman Josef Deutsch. "The realistic looking gun was actually gas powered could have still done some damage. Once the mask had been ripped off his head there was not really much chance he was going to get very far." (picture of robber here)
Deutsch said the crook, who had 24 previous convictions and lived nearby, had already fled his home when police arrived to arrest him. But they did manage to catch the 62-year-old man's girlfriend, aged 48, who was at the home. (picture of gun and bomb)
It just makes me really angry
Speaking afterwards, Wallecker said: "I hate injustice. I come from a family with 16 children and you learn in a group like that to make sure everybody gets a fair share."
"I live off 800 euros ($1,040) a month as a pension and I had to work really hard to have the right to do that. When I hear about anybody stealing anything it just makes me really angry."
Where did Wallecker learn her moves? "Maybe I watch too many police series on television," the heroine told the Oesterreich daily, The Australian said.
"I would do it again but my nephew told me it was mad and I could have been shot."
TV footage shows how Wallecker refused to let go even though people in the bank tell her he's going to shoot her.
"There were also men there, standing around," Wallecker added. "None of them lifted a finger."
(picture of Wallecker)