An armed depositor stormed BLOM Bank’s Tariq al-Jedideh branch around noon Friday, a few hours after another armed depositor managed to recover USD 19,200 from Byblos Bank’s branch in the southern town of Ghazieh.
The man who stormed BLOM Bank has been identified as Abed Soubra, an indebted businessman who has around $200,000 in his account and the accounts of his family.
Witnesses said the man entered the bank carrying a gun and employees were about to give him money before refraining from doing so with the arrival of security forces, who convinced the man to hand over the gun.
Earlier in the day, a depositor carrying a gun and a jerrican of fuel withdrew his frozen savings at gunpoint from Byblos Bank in Ghazieh.
The depositor, reported to be in his 50s, stormed the premises with his adult son.
He threatened bank employes with a gun, which a TV channel said may have been a toy, and demanded his savings.
“He emptied a jerrican of fuel on the floor,” a bank security guard told an AFP reporter.
The man walked away with around $19,000 and turned himself in to the police moments later as a crowd formed in front of the bank to support him.
The incidents in Tariq al-Jedideh and Ghazieh raise the number of bank heists this week in Lebanon to four. The savings of depositors in the country have been devalued and trapped in banks for almost three years amid a crippling economic crisis.
They are usually acts of economic desperation by depositors with no criminal record trying to settle bills, and have drawn wide sympathy among the general public.
On Wednesday, a young woman held up a bank in central Beirut using a similar modus operandi, in what she said was an attempt to retrieve the savings of her sister, a cancer patient.
Sali Hafiz became an instant hero on social media, and a phone picture of standing on a desk inside the bank during the heist became viral.
Also on Wednesday, a man held up a bank in the city of Aley northeast of Beirut, the official National News Agency reported.
Last month, a man received widespread sympathy after he stormed a Beirut bank with a rifle and held employees and customers hostage for hours, to demand some of his $200,000 in frozen savings to pay hospital bills for his sick father.
He was detained but swiftly released.
Lebanon has been battered by one of its worst-ever economic crises.
Its currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value on the black market, while poverty and unemployment have soared..