A gang of over 50 armed bandits have stolen several million dollars from a vault in Paraguay, in what local officials are dubbing the “robbery of the century.”
The culprits, who police said were from Brazil, killed one police officer during the Monday raid in Ciudad del Este, the South American country’s second-largest city.
Three robbers were killed hours later in an ensuing gun battle with Brazilian police across the border, the Paraguayan Interior Ministry said.
Five members of the gang were arrested in Itaipulandia, 50 kilometres north of Ciudad del Este, the ministry added.
Initial estimates placed the cash haul at around 40 million dollars, but a spokesman for Prosegur, the security company targeted in the raid, denied these reports.
The gangsters used explosives to gain access to the vault at a cash-storage facility in the Paraguayan border city, which is known for its criminal gang activity.
Armed with assault rifles, they are thought to have made their escape to Brazil by motorboat via the Parana river.
Investigations point to Primeiro Comando da Capital, or PCC, a major criminal organisation in Brazil, police spokesman Augusto Lima said.
Some of the stolen money was recovered, according to newspaper ABC Color. (NAN)