The Paleokosta brothers, Nikos and Vassilis, grew up in the mountain village of Trikala (Moshofitos). They are perhaps the only ones who threw away the money after the robbery in Karditsa – it was 200,000 drachmas – characteristically stating: “We do not rob on trifles.”
The robbery that became “legend”
On the calendar on June 2, 1992, Vasilis and Nikos Paleokostas, along with their brother Kostas Samaras, decide to rob a bank. They know that the month has just begun, and salaries and pensions are being paid – his cash desk will be full.
They find and steal two cars in Kalambaka. Vasilis Paleokostas himself describes in his book “Normal Life”: “… We approached the police station. The patrol car is missing. Perhaps she went out with a team on patrol. We were in no mood to wait. Kostas drove the van onto the sidewalk, vertically blocking the entrance to the open police garage.” The bank was next to… the police station. He did all this for a reason, as the police would have been forced to walk to the bank, which would have given the robbers time to escape.
“I had a large construction bag, which contained two loaded seven-shot short rifles and a large duffel bag. Kostas, as a navigator, took a seat nearby. Under his demi-season jacket, he had an Uzi submachine gun hanging on a belt over his shoulder. Nikos, as the driver, got out last. In this order, we ran a few meters until we entered the bank. We all wore sunglasses and jockey hats. Kostas remained to guard the entrance. Since I was ahead of Nikos, I take out the short barrel and throw it at him. He catches it in the air. I take another and the festival begins… For those who don’t understand, this is a robbery. We came to take the bank’s money, not your lives. Don’t make us do it. The money will go back to the bank, life will never come back. Be careful, let’s all go home.”
Vasilis Paleokostas approached the cashier and, putting a short barrel to his head, asked for the key to the safe, but the cashier told him that the manager had it. She acted like… she didn’t understand what was going on and bent over her papers. “Do you want to see blood in your jar?” Paleokostas told him and led him to a large safe.
When he opened the safe, Paleokostas was delighted to see that there was so much money that it did not fit in the two bags they had with them. Nikos Paleokostas brought a sleeping bag with him, investing five thousand in it.
The whole robbery lasted five minutes, but during this time the atmosphere was discharged, Nikos Paleokostas cracked jokes that made employees and customers laugh, to the point that they left under their “well done” and “goodbye” “.
A crowd gathered at the bank, a policeman in civilian clothes pulled out a pistol from it and fired, but he did not succeed. Then the bandits changed cars.
Paleokostas: Their escape will be described by Kostas Samaras in his own book called “Wanted” (“Καταζητείται”):
“We passed the city health center on the right and the stadium upstairs on the left at breakneck speed without any cars following us. About two kilometers before Kalambaka, since we were moving at a fairly high speed, we saw two police patrol cars appear from the opposite direction, following us. First there was a jeep, then a Mitsubishi and another ordinary car.
“Come on!” Vasilis said furiously. “I’m going down, guys,” I said, and dived into the space between the back and front seats of the car so the cops could only see the two men in the Opel. As soon as I realized that we had crossed paths with three police cars without hearing the alarm brake, I started to get up again.”
Vasilis, Nikos Paleokostas and Kostas Samaras managed to escape to the mountains they knew from childhood. When they opened the bags, they found that they had taken 125 million drachmas (336,000 euros), but Paleokostas will write that they were not happy because they knew that they left behind the same amount.
When they felt that the danger was over, they managed to hijack the Nissan and escape. They returned him clean and washed, and hid 150,000 drachmas under the rug of the driver’s seat…