Dozens of armed robbers raided the city of Criciúma in southeastern Brazil last night, taking over the streets and robbing a bank. Two people were injured, and the roads were littered with banknotes picked up by residents.
The raid began just before midnight on Monday evening and lasted nearly two hours, Santa Catarina State Military Police said in a statement. They got hit in cars, broke into banks, blew up ATMs, and lit fires. They also blocked streets to hinder law enforcement and even attacked a police station. One policeman and a security officer were injured in the ongoing firefights.
Images distributed via social media show armed men firing automatic weapons into the streets, taking hostages, and then fleeing in a dozen cars. As they flew away, the banknotes fluttered into the streets. Locals soon spread out to pick up the notes. The hostages were later released unharmed, according to local media.
“So far, four people have been arrested who picked up some of the notes that ended up on the floor after the explosion,” police said. The authorities were able to recover 810,000 real (about 130,000 dollars) so far.
Bank robberies are more common in Brazil. In recent years, the robberies have become increasingly violent, as criminals use explosives to access the safes.