A police officer was shot dead and one civilian killed in a large scale armed robbery of a Prosegur security company facility on Avenida Saudade in Campos Elíseos, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo State on 5 July 2016.
A gang of an estimated 20-40 reportedly attacked the Prosegur facility overnight, using explosives, nails, small arms and heavy weapons.
Residents of the Campos Elíseos area reported that the gang arrived at the scene in ten vehicles at 04:30 am, set off explosives, and began shooting. The sound of gunfire reportedly lasted 40 minutes.
Highway policemen on patrol on the Anhanguera Highway were fired upon during the gang’s escape at around 05:00 am, and one died of his wounds. Policing was strengthened along the state border with Minas Gerais.
The gang blocked off streets with vehicles and left nails on the road in order to prevent a successful pursuit.
The gang also set fire to several vehicles during the assault. A homeless man who had been sheltering under a vehicle died of his burns the following day.
Prosegur reported that none of its employees were wounded in the attack. The company did not announce what was stolen in the attack, but reports in the press are circulating that the stolen goods were valued at R$60 million (US$18.2 million).
An unexploded improvised explosive device (IED) left by the group was detonated by the São Paulo Military Police Special Actions and Tactics Group (GATE).
A Military Police spokesperson said that the heavily armed group used pistols and assault rifles, and that ammunition used included 5.56x45mm, 7.62x51mm, and .50 (12.7x99mm), which is armour piercing anti-aircraft ammunition.
Two electricity transformers on Rua Basílio Gama were destroyed during the attack, cutting off the electricity supply to 2,245 local properties. Local electricity provider CPFL Paulista reported that 80% of the service had been restored on the same day.
Neighbouring houses were also damaged in the assault, and the area was closed off by police.
Weapons “Unique to the Armed Forces”
Seven of the vehicles used were found in a sugar cane field on 7 July. The vehicles contained weapons described by police spokesman Major Valdemir Guimarães Dias as “unique to the armed forces”.
Public Security Secretary of São Paulo State Mágino Alves Barbosa Filho compared the actions of the gang to those of a paramilitary organisation. Filho declared that it is a “matter of honour” to find the perpetrators of the attack. Two teams from the State Criminal Investigation Department have been assigned to assist the work of the local police investigators in Ribeirão Preto.
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