Eight armed gunman in federal police cars entered one of Brazil’s busiest airports Thursday and made off with $40 million worth of gold and precious metals, taking two hostages with them during the heist.
One local police commander said the gang had been “prepared for war” and arrived at banks in armoured cars and with rifles and body armour.
Four suspects were captured on surveillance tape entering the Sao Paulo International Airport in Guarulhos in a black pickup truck that appeared to have the markings of Brazil’s federal police, Reuters reported.
Sao Paulo International Airport in Guarulhos is the busiest airport in South America
The thieves targeted the cargo terminal at Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport and intercepted a large shipment Thursday. Mission accomplished, the getaway cars were found abandoned in a yard [photo]
Police forensics team examine the truck left behind by the robbers
The suspects reportedly kidnapped a senior airport official Wednesday and held him for 12 hours to gain information about the valuable cargo which was set to ship to New York and Zurich.
According to Agencia Brasil, the hostages were released unharmed.
The gunmen left the airport with approximately 750 kilograms (1,653 pounds) of gold and other metals due for shipment to Zurich and New York. No shots were fired and no one was injured during the robbery, the state news agency said.
According to Brazil’s Federal Highway Police, the thieves may have had access to internal information about airport operations.
In April this year, armed robbers stole a large cash haul from Albania’s Tirana International Airport, seizing money destined for Vienna from an Austrian Airlines plane. One of the gunmen was shot to death during a police chase, while a further four were arrested.