updated 3/7/2006 11:34:51 AM ET 2006-03-07T16:34:51

Authorities evacuated parts of an airport in southwestern Sweden on Tuesday after thieves robbed a passenger plane that had just landed from London and left a suspicious package that police said looked like a bomb.

In a brazen heist, three men in a jeep crashed through a gate at the Landvetter airport outside Goteborg and drove up to the Scandinavian Airlines plane, police said.

While passengers were still on board, the robbers stole an unknown number of bags and crates with foreign exchange being unloaded from the cargo hold, police and media reports said.

The Web site of the local newspaper Goteborgs-Posten quoted one passenger, Simon Darnard, as saying he saw masked men outside the aircraft.

Bomb fears
Parts of the airport, including the international terminal, were evacuated as bomb disposal experts headed to the scene to investigate a suspicious package.

"The robbers left a bag with an antenna sticking out of it at one of the gates, so we evacuated parts of the airport," police spokeswoman Anna Rosenberg said. "We suspect it may be a bomb and bomb technicians are on their way."

As the robbers drove off, they spread nails on the road to block police from pursuing them, she said. The getaway car was set on fire a few miles from the airport, where the robbers were believed to have switched to another car. That vehicle was also found burned out a few miles further away.

A police helicopter and several patrol cars were searching for the robbers, Rosenberg said, adding that passengers and other witnesses were being questioned.

It was not immediately known how much money the robbers stole.

SAS Cargo spokesman Ulrik H. Marschall confirmed that the thieves stole cargo being transported by the company on the flight from London, but would not give details.

"It was valuable, that is all I know," he said.

SAS Cargo is part of the SAS travel group which owns a number of airlines, including the main carrier Scandinavian Airlines.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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