Hostages Told to Cling to Car Hoods or Be Shot in Face

They're speaking out after ordeal in Aracatuba, Brazil
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2021 3:52 PM CDT

Brazilian bank robbers strapped hostages to the hoods and roofs of getaway vehicles early Monday, and now those victims are speaking of their ordeal. One said they were told their options were to hang on or be shot in the face: "I was put onto the [hood] of a car and told: 'If you let go, if you try to throw yourself off, I'll stop the car and shoot you in the face.' I think I have never held on so tightly to anything as I did then," even over speed bumps and potholes.

The BBC quotes another hostage as telling local media that he was stopped by a gunman who pushed him off the motorbike he was riding in Aracatuba. He said he had originally waved off the gunfire he heard as fireworks, then thought he was encountering a police checkpoint. When he realized the situation, "All I could think about is that I would die." The mother of yet another hostage says that after a roughly two-hour ordeal they were let go in a rural area and walked hours to get back to the city.

Three people were killed during the heists, one a suspect; it hasn't been reported whether the other two were hostages or bystanders. Two more suspects have been apprehended, and some 380 police officers are now on the hunt for at least a dozen more. A Sao Paulo official said the criminals "had inside information that one of the banks had a large sum of money, so they went to the city," reports CNN. It's unclear how much they made off with from the two banks they managed to breach; they also damaged a third. (Read more hostage stories.)

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