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He had served about half of his three-year sentence at the penitentiary in Kalmar, south of Stockholm, when he escaped while on furlough a couple of weeks before his arrival at the Kreditbank.
Olsson had scarcely entered the Kreditbank’s street floor when a number of customers and forty assorted employees—tellers, mail-deposit clerks, secretaries, junior officials—knew that they were to have no ordinary Thursday morning; within seconds he had whipped out his submachine gun and fired at the ceiling, sending down a shower of concrete and glass.
I believed I was seeing something that could happen only in America.” Horrified, she watched Olsson take some rope from his canvas bag and hand it to a male bookkeeper, whom he commanded to bind her hands and ankles with it.
On the floor in a matter of seconds, and shifting uncomfortably in her bonds, Kristin regretted the day she had ever left home—a gold-mining village in Sweden’s far north.
A year ago last August 23rd, an escaped Swedish convict walked into the main office of one of Stockholm’s largest banks, the Sveriges Kreditbank, shortly after it had opened, bent on carrying out the most ambitious exploit of a long criminal career. One hand hugged a loaded submachine gun under a folded jacket.
The other hand held a large canvas suitcase whose contents included reserve ammunition, plastic explosives, blasting caps, safety fuses, lengths of rope, a knife, wool socks, sunglasses, two walkie-talkies, and a transistor radio.
Startled, the husband had keeled over, whereupon the wife asked Olsson to fetch heart medicine that her husband kept in the kitchen; the robber complied, then resumed his pillaging, finally departing with considerable loot.
Until Olsson brought Kristin and Elisabeth together, so to speak, they had had only the barest nodding acquaintance—a fact that seems astonishing to them now, for, as they were to discover in the next several days, they had much in common. Elisabeth, too, was awaiting admission to a school in the fall—in her case, a nursing school.