As reported by Bloomberg, a terrifying situation unfolded at Apple’s flagship store in Amsterdam today when a man in camouflage clothing and a balaclava fired a gun and held someone there for several hours before being apprehended. The hostage was reportedly an Apple Store customer from somewhere outside the Netherlands.
Photos of the scene showed the hostage sitting opposite the suspect, with his hands cuffed behind his back. There were four other people in the store hidden in a closet, but the suspect apparently didn’t realize they were there. The store is located on Leidseplein, a busy area in the city center with many people around, some of whom have streamed live footage as the hostage situation continues. Dozens of other people were also inside when the incident started, but they managed to escape before it ended.
A standoff with police lasted from about 5:30 p.m. local time until 10:45 p.m., when the hostage ran out of the store, with the suspect close behind. As reported by AT5 Echt Amsterdams Nieuws and confirmed in tweets from the police, the police hit the running suspect with an armored BMW X5 on the spot. As the suspect lay motionless on the ground, police sent a robot to check them for explosives, confirming none were present.
It’s unclear what sparked the incident, but police details say the suspect is a 27-year-old who sent selfies and other photos to AT5 during the incident showing him wearing a bomb vest. Amsterdam newspaper The Parool reported many details released at a press conference afterward, as police said the hostage-taker asked for water brought to the store by a robot. The hostage took this opportunity to flee to safety.
According to the police, their strategy was to exhaust the suspect with negotiations. At one point, he demanded 200 million in cryptocurrency (which coin or denomination is unclear), as well as safe passage away from the Apple Store. Apple has not commented on the incident and police have not provided a motive. However, The Parool According to the chief of police, the chief of police pointed out that the suspect’s equipment was not in accordance with the plans for a robbery, and that they believe he acted alone.
The suspect is a 27-year-old Amsterdammer who also contacted 5 during the evening. Filed a demand of 200 million in cryptos and an evicted, threatened to blow up free own. Held hostage according to the triangular traffic a customer.
— Ronald Olsthoorn (@RonaldOlsthoorn) February 22, 2022