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An armed robbery of the Amsterdam Apple Store led to a man being held at gunpoint as a hostage.
At approximately 6 p.m. CET (12 p.m. eastern), early reports claimed two men in balaclavas left the Apple Store in Leidseplein, Amsterdam. On attempting to leave the store, the situation escalated after they spotted nearby police.
One man then grabbed a bystander and took them hostage as they went back into the store, reports Het Parool. Footage published to social media show one of the men holding the hostage around the neck and waving around a handgun.
The Royal Marechaussee, the national gendarmerie of the Netherlands, is also on-site.
More police have arrived at the scene, including members of the Special Intervention Service (DSI), a tactical police unit, to tend to the situation.
Police have cordoned off the area, with traffic stopped and people in nearby buildings prevented from leaving due to the risk of attack. While members of the public were moved away from the area, there are thought to be around 70 people in the De Balie theater and cafe next to the Apple Store, with occupants kept to rooms towards the rear for safety.
Amsterdam police tweeted it is reluctant to provide information about the situation, so as to not disrupt efforts at the store. It also requested local residents and employees in the area to stay indoors.
A later tweet, at 7:42 pm CET, had the Amsterdam police asking people with a view of the Apple Store to "exercise restraint in publishing images or live streams," citing safety concerns.
Two Apple Store employees who were in upper floors of the store at the time told De Telegraaf they were shocked, but all staff successfully left the building. One of the employees said in a translated comment "I left America for this kind of bullshit. And now I'm in the middle of it."
Police officials, the Public Prosecution Service, and representatives of the mayor, including Deputy mayor Rutger Groot Wassink and police commander Frank Paauw, have gathered to discuss the situation at the police headquarters.
Around 4:25 p.m. Eastern Time, Dutch police in Amsterdam said that 'dozens' of people were able to safely leave the Apple Store. They are being collected by police and bussed to a separate location to give witness statements.
As of 4:45 p.m. Eastern Time, Amsterdam's police department said that the hostage is safe and the suspect is currently in police custody. Investigations into the hostage taker are currently ongoing, though authorities said they weren't able to provide an update on his condition.
Since the end of the incident, more details have emerged. The man was demanding 200 million Euro in cryptocurrency to not set off explosives that he said he was wearing.
The hostage asked for water. When it was delivered, he escaped, and the hostage-taker fled.
#BREAKING: Hostage runs from Apple Store in Amsterdam while being chased by hostage-taker, who is then run over by police #Amsterdam #leidseplein #gijzeling #news #Hostage#BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/X8WIRdjnMJ— JUST IN | World (@justinbroadcast) February 23, 2022
The perpetrator was then hit by a police car, and is presently hospitalized.
"We want to thank local law enforcement for their exceptional work and ongoing investigation," Apple said in a statement about the situation. "Our teams and customers took swift action and showed incredible strength and resolve today, and we are so thankful for the support and care they've shown each other under such challenging circumstances."
It's unclear whether Apple's spokesperson meant that the company itself was conducting an investigation. However, local law enforcement officers were reportedly searching the store following the resolution of the situation.