In 'Robbery of the Century,' 50 Men Allegedly Attack

Security firm Prosegur hit in Paraguay's Ciudad del Este
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2017 8:33 AM CDT
In 'Robbery of the Century,' Boats, Bombs, Diversions
A vehicle burns after thieves set it on fire during their escape in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, Monday, April 24, 2017.   (Mariana Ladaga/Diario ABC Color via AP)

It's like a mix of The Italian Job and Ocean's Eleven, just with an alleged cast of 50 criminals. Paraguayan officials are calling it the robbery of the century: the theft of millions from private security firm Prosegur in Ciudad del Este that is said to have involved explosives, fiery diversions, and getaway boats. The BBC reports the gang allegedly blew off the building's facade early Monday while creating diversions. "The criminals used snipers to guarantee the escape and torched more than 10 vehicles to distract the police," an official tells the AP. While initial reports suggested they made off with $40 million, Fox News reports they got only one of three vaults open, leaving them with a much smaller haul.

After a multi-hour gun battle that killed a cop, they fled the scene, reportedly in the security company's own armored trucks. They're said to have then boarded boats at the Parana river and traveled 30 miles to Brazil. (CNN notes Ciudad del Este is the country's second-biggest city and hugs the country's border with Brazil and Argentina.) Brazilian media reports that federal police confronted a dozen men who managed to escape after another gun battle. Authorities believe the men may be part of Brazil's criminal Primer Comando de la Capital, a conclusion that may be based on their alleged use of Portuguese. They were said to be incredibly well armed, with not just AK 47s and C4 explosives, but anti-aircraft guns and a helicopter. It's unclear if any of them have been apprehended. (More heist stories.)

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