Anton Maltsev, a former soldier, owed approximately $118,000 on a single debt and the constant hounding by collectors affected him so deeply that he developed a paranoid disorder. The war veteran began gathering weapons, including guns and explosives, as well as armor plating, as he searched for methods to protect himself from the bank, ultimately deciding to build an exoskeleton.
Maltsev took out a loan to purchase an apartment, located in Pushkino, in 2008. When the financial crisis impacted the area, and the value of the Russian ruble declined, he began struggling to repay what he borrowed.
Debt collectors soon began appearing, and encounters that once only involved words soon began including actions.
According to the Daily Mail, during an interview, Maltsev said, “One day my patience dried up – the debt collectors moved from words to deeds and broke my mailbox.” He added, “I hid my wife in a rented apartment in Moscow, and began to arm myself, just in case. I still wanted to live.”
The debt collectors continued to pursue him, ambushing him near his apartment and even gluing the keyholes to the dwelling shut.
“Finding weapons and bulletproof vests is not a problem in the modern world,” said Maltsev. “However, the numerical superiority of the bandits dictated another solution. After all, they could come themselves wearing vests and armed with rifles.”
“I decided that the cheapest way [to protect myself] was to make a protective exoskeleton, together with silenced weapons,” said Maltsev, a Chechen and Kosovan war veteran. “To create it, I used aluminum and titanium, plus a little steel.”
He also rigged his apartment with traps, including pepper spray tripwires.
When authorities discovered Maltsev’s arsenal, including the exoskeleton, he was ultimately arrested on weapons charges, being labeled by the media as the “Russian Iron Man,” a nod to the famed Marvel character.
However, his lawyer argued that the court could not find his client guilty or innocent, as Maltsev was not capable of understanding what he had done.
After learning of the veteran’s paranoia, he was pardoned by the Pushkinsky District Court on the grounds that Maltsev’s mental state suggest he was unaware of what he was going.
He will be evaluated by a medical board soon as a result.
The Iron Man-style exoskeleton was ordered destroyed by the court.