WARSAW, Poland – Two Polish men have been arrested and charged with a string of bomb attacks at IKEA stores across Europe and trying to extort millions from the Swedish furniture giant, authorities said Saturday.
The arrests shed light on a mysterious spate of bombings that had prompted the evacuation of spooked shoppers and forced the retailer known for its affordable self-assembly furniture and bright blue-and-yellow stores to beef up security around the continent.
A handful of homemade bomb attacks occurred from May to September in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the Czech Republic. Two people were lightly injured in the German attack but there were no fatalities.
Polish officials said they have significant evidence incriminating the two men for planting the explosives and trying to extort $8 million from IKEA. The arrests were made after a manhunt involving investigators from across Europe.
“The perpetrators prepared for this very carefully. They set up a bank account, demanded a transfer over the Internet, but fortunately the ransom was never paid,” said Andrzej Matejuk, police commander with the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The two men were charged with endangering the lives of many people, extortion and racketeering and could face up to 10 years in prison.