Manhunt for armed, masked robber on the loose in Malaga province

HEIST: The Unicaja branch in Huelin and (inset) the Huelin pharmacy and bank in Benamargosa.

POLICE are probing a series of armed raids in Malaga province.

The three attacks happened within a 24-hour period, with a local pharmacy and bank hit ahead of a second bank robbery in the village of Benamargosa.

Investigators believe the two earlier incidents – both of which occurred in the Huelin district of Malaga city – may be related, while a suspect has been held in connection with the third.

In the first assault, a ski mask-clad gunman burst into a pharmacy on Calle Infantes before punching the assistant on duty, who handed over the contents of the till.

The next day, a man wearing a motorcycle helmet over a balaclava entered the Unicaja branch on Calle La Hoz.

He initially stood in line before pulling out a gun and shouting at staff to hand over the cash.

But a female client managed to escape the scene and raise the alarm at a local bar, with the raider fleeing before police arrived at the scene, sparking a manhunt.

Less than half an hour later, a second Unicaja branch was targeted in Benamargosa, after a man dressed in motorbiking gear and wielding an axe threatened staff before making off with €18,000 in cash.

The mayor, Jose Gallego, confirmed that he fled on foot, dropping bank notes as he went, and police were able to track him down after he threw his clothes and weapon into a nearby rubbish container.

The case remains open as detectives work to determine whether he worked alone or with an accomplice.

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