A group of bank robbers held several civilians hostage and cling them to the rooftop in order to use them as “human shields” before escaping from the spot.
Almost a year after dozens of criminals blew up a bank branch and exchanged gunfire with police officers in Brazil’s Sao Paulo state, a similar incident was reported in the same city on Monday where a group of bank robbers held civilians hostage and put some on their cars while making their escape. According to the reports, the bank robbers armed with explosives and high-powered rifles plunged into Sao Paulo– a city in Brazil that is considered “a vibrant financial centre” and is among the world’s most populous cities in the wee hours of Monday.
Na fuga, os reféns foram amarrados nos veículos. Tentativa de impedir qualquer contra-ataque da polícia ao grupo. Deus guarde essas pessoas e todos de Araçatuba. Todas as agências bancárias do centro foram invadidas – informações preliminares. pic.twitter.com/lu0hBlcTCu
— Yuri Macri (@yurimacri) August 30, 2021
Robbers burn cars at the strategic locations
The report said the robbers targeted two bank branches belonging to state banks Caixa Federal and Banco do Brasil and drove away with hostages clinging to the roofs of their cars. In order to track the movement of the police, they deployed a large number of drones at various police stations. Also, to deter police action, the robbers burnt cars at the strategic locations of the city.
A video shared by Yuri Macri, a TV journalist, showed a hostage stood with his torso protruding from an SUV’s sunroof and his hands held in the air while they cling several civilians to the rooftop and were using them as “human shield”.
Meanwhile, police authorities, during a press conference on Monday morning confirmed the killing of three persons including two civilians and one suspected robber. According to the preliminary report, one was a local businessman who went to the location to film the attack and the other a delivery boy. The third person killed was a suspect, found in his car. Six others were injured, added the authorities on Monday. “Aracatuba was shaken by highly dangerous criminals who fired thousands of shots,” Colonel Rodrigo Arena, the police commander in the region, told reporters. Arena said that three suspects had been arrested and Federal Police are taking over investigations, he added. Sao Paulo’s public security secretariat said in a statement that 380 police officers were trying to locate the escaped criminals.
Civilian hostage has become new normal in Brazil
Meanwhile, when the news agency Associated Press (AP) contacted the bank cashier where the robbers reportedly seized a large amount of money, he declined to comment on the issue and added he told every single piece of information to the police.
It is worth noting that large-scale bank heists have become more frequent in recent years, with hostages used as human shields in Brazil. In July last year, a group of heavily armed assailants donning bulletproof vests attacked multiple bank branches in the city. The residents were taken hostage during the attacks and that the suspects shot up a police station and set vehicles afire before escaping.