At least three people died and three others were injured this Monday after a group of heavily armed criminals invaded the Brazilian city of Araçatuba, in the interior of Sao Paulo, to perpetrate a series of bank robberies, confirmed the mayor of the city. , Dilator Borges.
The criminals invaded the city shortly after midnight on Monday, taking hostages and placing explosives at various points to commit the assaults in a region that concentrates various banking agencies in Araçatuba, a town located about 500 kilometers from the capital of São Paulo.
Following the bank robbery, the group of about 20 criminals in ten cars approached pedestrians and drivers and took them hostage. The criminals also surrounded bases and vehicles of the Military Police.
They also blocked access to the city with burning vehicles to prevent security forces from reaching the scene, police said.
The gang abandoned the vehicles used in the crime and stole others from residents to flee. Residents also reported finding explosives and ammunition on city streets. The stores were also damaged. More than ten explosives were found in one of the streets, according to local media.
The Military Police isolated some streets and warned residents not to leave their homes until the situation is under control, as there are explosives scattered throughout the city that can be detonated by heat or movement. At the site, the Special Tactical Actions Group intervened to deactivate the explosives.
“I ask the population to stay home. The most important thing is to preserve people’s lives, ”said Mayor Borges.
The authorities did not report the identity of the victims, although the mayor specified that at least one of them would be one of the criminals who was injured and was “abandoned” by his colleagues during the escape. Two other victims are city residents, according to police.
According to the Sao Paulo Security Secretariat, at least three people have been detained so far. The amount of money stolen by the group was not disclosed.
“In a few hours we must have positive results of arresting part of that gang,” stressed the mayor, who suspended classes in this city of about 200,000 inhabitants and urged the population to stay home.
In 2017, Araçatuba experienced moments of terror in a mega robbery of a securities company in the city. At that time, around 30 criminals set fire to vehicles to block the exit of vehicles from the headquarters of the Military Police, which was near the scene of the robbery.
The suspects also fired at the entrance to the barracks to prevent the officers from leaving, and there was an exchange of gunfire. Then another group used dynamite to blow up the building.
Actions similar to that of Araçatuba have been perpetrated in recent years in various cities in the interior of Brazil by heavily armed and organized groups that sow terror to carry out robberies.