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    Investigators say dead Siberian bank robber in debt

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    A man who took several people hostage in a southwest Siberian bank on Friday and was later shot dead by police is reported to have been heavily in debt, a spokesman for investigators said on Monday.

    KEMEROVO, March 16 (RIA Novosti) - A man who took several people hostage in a southwest Siberian bank on Friday and was later shot dead by police is reported to have been heavily in debt, a spokesman for investigators said on Monday.

    Armed with a gun and grenade Igor Yerofeyevsky, born in 1958, took three female bank clerks and two guards hostage on Friday evening at the Leninsk-Kuznetsk branch of URSA bank demanding money and free passage out of the region before being shot dead by special armed police.

    "One of Yerofeyevsky's main motives was to steal money to clear his debts. According to his common-law wife, in the last few days officials and bailiffs had visited the house with debt demands," Nadezhda Ananyeva said.

    Ananyeva also said that investigators had discovered a dummy explosive device during a search of the apartment where Yerofeyevsky was registered as living.

    According to government sources, the unemployment rate in Russia hit 1.89 million as of February 24 as companies slashed jobs amid the global financial crisis, which has caused a fall in demand for raw materials on world markets, the depreciation of the ruble and 13.8 % inflation in the country in 2008.

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