By Vanessa Correa and Afonso Benites
FOLHA DE S. PAULO/Worldcrunch
SAO PAULO A group of Brazilian buccaneers used speed boats to execute a nighttime raid on the island town of Ilhabela, where the men used explosives to open five ATM machines and steal approximately $110,000 worth of Brazilian reais.
Famous for its beautiful beaches, Ilhabela is six hours away from Sao Paulo, making it a popular vacation spot for middle class. The towns mayor, Antônio Colucci, had the ATMs installed just last year in order to accommodate the high number of tourists the island receives, especially during summer.
In a time span of just 20 minutes, the armed men restricted access to downtown, kidnapped a police officer, snatched the money and fled. A hotel security guard was shot when he tried to check what was happening.
Part of the group tried to unsuccessfully to break into a shop. The owner had installed armored windows after suffering similar attacks. According to the local police, this is the third time criminals have attacked the town from the sea.
Exploding ATMs has become a common tactic for robbers in Sao Paulo. As a deterrent, many machines are equipped with a device that destroys bills by splashing red ink on them. Similar attacks have occurred in other beach towns along Sao Paulo state. Five ATMs were blown up this year in places near Ilhabela.
So far nobody has been arrested. A speed boat was later found on a nearby beach. The kidnapped officer was kicked and beaten with a gun, but managed to escape before the robbers left the town.
Read the original article in Portuguese
Photo - Milton Jung