Viral videos show terrified ten hostages strapped to getaway cars as human shields, after a heavily gang raided three Brazilian banks,before fleeing crime scene
The gang of 20 armed robbers struck city of Araçatuba, 290 miles from Sao Paulo, Brazil, early Monday
The bandits started with hemming in local police inside their headquarters, surrounded by burning vehicles
The robbers then broke into three banks accompanied by gunfire and explosions
At least three people were killed in the raid including of the robbers – several more were injured but the fate of the hostages remain unknown
One video shows the robbers taking locals hostage, marching them through the streets before strapping them to their vehicle roofs and hoods to serve as human shields and deter police from shooting at them
Robbers covered their getaway with Bobby traps, strategically planting bombs throughout the city, triggered by motion censors,
The group behind Brazil’s latest bank heist has not been confirmed, but local authorities believe Sao Paulo based gang, Primeiro Comando da Capital, [PCC], is responsible
PCC, Brazil’s largest gang has carried out similar vicious robberies in the last decade
A gang of heavily armed men used live human beings as shields from police bullets on Monday after a bank robbery.
The bank robbers strapped civilian hostages to the outside of their cars as human shields during a huge raid in Brazil that saw at least three people killed.
Local media reported that Around 20 robbers, armed with machine guns, bombs and drones raided three banks in the center of Araçatuba city, 290 miles from Sao Paulo, starting around midnight, Sunday.
The criminals with a strike by on the local police headquarters and blocked roads into the city using burned-out cars to stop reinforcements from arriving, before kidnapping locals to use as human shields.
Video shows how gunmen walked lines of hostages through the streets before strapping them to the roofs and bonnets of their cars as they made their escape – scattering infrared proximity bombs along their route to stop police following.
Video shows hostages tied to the getaway vehicles used by the robbers in Araçatuba, Brazil on Monday morning, to deter pursuing law enforcement from shooting at them
At least three people died in the raid including two bystanders and one of the robber. Brazilian media reported, that two people were arrested.
Four more were injured, including a 25-year-old cyclist who accidentally detonated one of the proximity bombs while riding past – leaving him with serious leg injuries.
The fate of most of the hostages, including those strapped to the vehicles, remains unclear. One woman who said she had been kidnapped at gunpoint told journalists she escaped by running into a nearby hotel.
Speaking to G1 after Monday’s raid, the woman who managed to escape said: ‘We were returning from a party. They stopped the car and… threw me on the ground, they threw us into a truck, they kidnapped us.
‘We were praying all the way.
They stopped us at the bank, pointed the gun in my face several times. I had to beg for my life, get help. I had to escape, otherwise they would kill me.
‘I begged for my life, showed me my waist, they saw I had [no weapon]. Thank God I managed to run away, I entered a hotel. They were heavily armed. They pointed R15, AK 47 in my face.’
It is not clear exactly who was behind Monday’s raid on the city of Araçatuba, but Local authorities said the gang Primeiro Comando da Capital [PCC] is likely behind the latest Brazil bank heist. PCC, Brazil’s largest gang has carried out similar raids in the past.
The entire city has since been placed on lockdown with police warning that bombs have been scattered through the streets and residents should stay inside.
One photo shows what appears to be a sophisticated bomb left in the street with a proximity sensor attached – meaning it will detonate if anybody gets too close.
The raid began when the robbers hijacked and burned at least four vehicles, using the wrecks to block roads. One was placed outside the headquarters of the local military police, trapping officers inside. Two more vehicles were placed on the main highway.
The gang then moved to the city center where a fourth burned-out vehicle was dumped near a string of banks. Raiders then struck branches of the Banco do Brasil, Banco Safra and Caixa Econômica, taking an unknown amount of cash.
It was then that they started taking hostages – holding people up at gunpoint before strapping them to the outside of their vehicles.
Bombs fitted with infrared proximity sensors were then scattered along the escape route to stop people following them. One piece of footage shows two of the raiders planting a device – turning on a green laser which shines a series of dots on the ground which is thought to form part of the proximity sensor – before running away.
At least four people were injured in the shooting, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo site.
The fate of the hostages has not been released.
One person was shot during the raid while another, a cyclist, was hit by one of the infrared bombs, CNN reported.
The 25-year-old victim was rushed to hospital with serious injuries to his legs, before surgeons were forced to amputate his feet.
The mayor of Araçatuba, Dilador Borges, said police had been forced to stand back due to fear of causing civilian casualties.
‘The police can’t go on the attack, they can’t confront them because there are too many lives on the line,’ he told Band TV. Security forces have since retaken control of the city center but it is unclear what the fate of the hostages is, he said.
It is not yet clear exactly how much money the robbers managed to steal, while the exact number of hostages is also unknown.
One piece of footage showed at least four people being marched through the streets by two gunmen, at least one of whom was firing shots into the air.
Before raiding the banks, the robbers can be seen planting explosive devices at strategic points in the city
Brazil has been described by some observers as one of the world’s crime capitals. – With the ready availability of firearms and drugs, the country has one of the highest crime and murder rates of any country in the world.
Petty crime, including pickpocketing, purse snatching, and smash-and-grab thefts from cars and shops, is endemic, all year round in major cities.
More serious crimes – including rape, sexual assault and kidnapping for ransom – are also frequently reported, particularly by foreign travelers who are targeted due to their perceived wealth and vulnerability.
Brazil is also home to many organised criminal gangs, who prey upon huge wealth dichotomy in wealth to recruit members and draw funds from south America’s vast drugs trade. These gangs often operate out of the country’s notorious favelas – lawless inner-city areas that are largely left to run themselves.
In 2018, Brazil had the largest number of murders of any country in the world – on average one every 10 minutes – and was ranked in the top 10 for murders relative to population. While the Covid pandemic saw murder rates drop in many south American countries in 2020, the murder rate in Brazil by contrast, actually went up.
Researchers believe this was in-part due to power-struggles between gangs and members fell sick, leading to them being perceived as weak and ripe for an attack, but was largely driven by unprecedented levels of police violence.
In Rio de Janeiro between March and May 2020, police killed 43 per cent more people than the same three months the previous year.
And in May this year, police carried out their deadliest raid in the city’s history – killing some 27 people, including one whose corpse was posed in a ‘humiliating’ fashion.
That bloodbath came after a cop was shot and killed early in the raid, sparking accusations that the shootings were revenge attacks.
Dring Monday’s raid, one set of images, taken from a CCTV camera, shows a convoy of cars, believed to be used by the raiders, turning around in the road. At least ten hostages can be seen strapped to the outside of the vehicles.
Some are left laying on the hoods, one is strapped to the roof, while others emerge from sunroofs with their hands raised.
The raid mirrors another cash robbery in the city . In 2017 the headquarters of a cash transport company was targeted.
During the robbery, up to 30 men surrounded the headquarters of the military police, ingress was blocked with burning automobiles, the bandits proceeded to pepper the entrance with gunfire, killing one officer.
The brazen robbers then used dynamite to blow up the cash firm’s safe, load up the cash, and made their getaway down the main highway.
The fleeing criminals hijacked two more trucks which they torched, leaving burning wrecks along the route to stall pursuing police.
Similar raids have also been carried out elsewhere in the state in what has become known as the ‘novo cangaço’ or ‘new cangaço’ – a reference to bandits who roamed rural Brazil in the 1800 and 1900s.
The original cangaço gangs robbed from the rich and gave to the poor, in return for assistance hiding from police and identifying valuable targets.
The gangs were mostly centered in the north of the country – a region known for its harsh landscape and difficult way of life – and targeted banks and cash couriers.
A second crime-wave using similar tactics then struck the region in the 1990s, and lasted until gang leader José Valdetário Benevides Carneiro was shot dead during a standoff with police in 2003.
Today’s copycat gangs are mostly situated in southern Sao Paulo state, according to a profile published last year by the BBC.
The raids are largely organized by a criminal outfit known as the First Command of the Capital [PCC]. However, PCC it is believed, often would engage external crews to do the dirty work.
Such attacks typically target small or medium-sized cities. Municipalities large enough to contain banks holding cash reserves, but small enough that the police force would not be particularly well-equipped or trained to withstand the overwhelming firepower.
Operationally, the obviously tactically disciplined crews counting on shock and awe would launch precision strikes, backed by overwhelming force to grab whatever cash they can, and escape.
Working in large teams of between 12, 30 or more personnel, they arrive carrying heavy weapons and explosives, degrade local security by attacking the local police headquarters directly, then block key roads using burned-out vehicles.
Explosives are often used to break into the bank’s vaults, before the raiders get away in a fleet of high-powered vehicles.
Hostages are often used as human shields, though Monday’s raid appears to be unique in that the hostages were physically tied to the cars.
The fleeing bank robbers planted bombs throughout the city before raiding the banks. The area was cordoned off, Monday as police searched for the devices
Authorities in Brazil said the ‘novo cangaço’ raids began around six years ago but have become more frequent since.
Before Monday’s attack, the most-recent took place in Botucatu in July of last year when 40 armed raiders attacked three bank branches in the city, destroyed one of them with explosives, took hostages and got into a firefight with police