No Christmas cash for robber of world’s northernmost bank

There were few ways to escape for the man who robbed the bank in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

Even though they may not be allowed in businesses, firearms are commonly carried on Svalbard because of the threat of polar bears. (Atle Staalesen / The Independent Barents Observer)

A man made threats with a gun at the world’s northernmost bank in Longyearbyen on Svalbard and grabbed an uncertain sum of cash. But the bank robber’s thrill did not last long.

Where was he going to run to?

The archipelago of Svalbard is located in the high Arctic, almost 1,000 kilometers from mainland Norway. And the town of Longyearbyen has only few small roads leading into the surrounding desolate tundra.

If he was to try to make it into the wilderness, he would risk being snatched by a polar bear.

The local police soon caught the man, according to the Svalbard Governor’s office.

The robber is himself not from the island. He will be sent to Tromsø, in mainland Norway, and there be charged, the local authorities say.

Svalbard has a population of about 2,500 people, most of whom live in the administrative center of Longyearbyen. Locals include mostly workers in the coal mine, the university center and the tourism industry.

Sparebank1 operates Longyearbyen’s bank, the world’s northernmost ar 78 degrees North.

Because of the many polar bears in the area, locals are allowed to carry guns.