Easter Heist: Shoot-out as Brazil robbers target security firm

An armed gang spread fear in the southern Brazilian city of Guarapuava early on Monday as it attempted to rob a security firm.

Residents reported hearing gun fire and some posted videos appearing to show locals being used as human shields as the robbers made their getaway. Two police officers were injured.

Large-scale bank robberies by heavily armed gangs in Brazil have become more frequent and more violent in recent years.

In this latest attempted heist, the target appears to have been a security firm which stores and transports valuables and cash.

The firm has not yet commented and it is not clear if the robbers managed to get away with any money.

As in other similar robberies, the gang blocked access roads leading to the city by setting vehicles alight.

The gang also attacked the local police station and in recordings made by residents rapid gunfire can be heard.

Local media said the gunmen arrived in at least seven vehicles, two of which they abandoned as they made their getaway. They also posted videos of the lorries the gang had set alight.

On social media, many residents compared the incident to the assault by an armed gang on the city of Criciuma in December 2020.

In both instances, the robberies seemed to have been well-planned and involved a large number of armed men who blocked the access roads to prevent reinforcements from arriving, surrounded the police station and terrorised locals.

So far police have not reported making any arrests.

They are thought to be part of a phenomenon Brazilians call “New Cangaço” in reference to a term used to describe the banditry that plagued parts of Brazil in the 1920s and 1930s.

While most of the heists have been carried out in small and medium-seized cities in Brazil, there has been at least one instance where a Brazilian gang carried out a spectacular robbery in neighbouring Paraguay.

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