Russian Rapping Duo Hold Up Post Office to Finance Record Launch

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MOSCOW — Two Russian rappers who robbed a post office in a remote Siberian village to cover the costs of their record launch have been nabbed by police, according to cops and local media.

The masked, air gun-waving duo, who struck on the day the office was due to distribute pension payments to the community's retirees, drove off with 250,000 rubles ($4,300) in cash, Zabaikalsky region police said on its website.

Police launched a pursuit after an post office employee in Zasopka — some 3,730 miles east of Moscow — hit the panic button, local TV station ZabTV reported.

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The rappers and their driver abandoned the car and were busted after a brief chase across local vegetable patches, according to Komsomolskaya Pravda.

The incident took place over the weekend, but details of the incident first surfaced late Monday.

“Needed the money to pay off debts, record an album, film a music video,” one of the suspects said during questioning, according to a police video aired by ZabTV.

He was identified by local media as Konstantin “Fantomas” Asmolov, 24, of the local rap group MC KF. The other two alleged perpetrators were not named.

If charged and convicted of armed robbery, the two rappers could face up to seven years in prison. It was unclear what charges the driver was facing.

Asmolov’s pages on social networks offer a selection of his oeuvre, comprised of mumbled rapping over slow dirge-like beats.

One of the tunes is dedicated to fellow Russian artist Roma Zhigan, nicknamed “Putin’s favorite rapper” after receiving an award for winning a televised hip-hop battle from Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2009. Zhigan served several months in prison last year on robbery charges.

— Alexey Eremenko