Movie-style cash-in-transit heist at airport as heavily armed robbers steal US$15 million (R239 mil)

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An armed gang of 10 stole about $15 million in cash after raiding a security van at an airport in Santiago, Chile, on Monday.

The heist took place at about midday local time (11 a.m. ET), when a group of 10 entered the cargo area of Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport and targeted a van belonging to security firm Brinks, according to CNN affiliate CNN Chile.

At least seven men entered the cargo area of the airport were the cash was stored and forced the security guards to hand the money over at gunpoint.

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The gang passed themselves off as workers from delivery firm DHL, entering the airport in a vehicle in the company's red and yellow livery, before threatening security guards and leaving one person injured after hitting them, reports CNN Chile.

The gang arrived in the airport's cargo area aboard two vehicles, police colonel Oscar Figueroa told reporters.

"Once inside, they threatened the guards before making off with the money," he said.

orge Sánchez from Chile's Policia de Investigacion (PDI) gave a press conference on Monday following the heist, revealing that $14 million and one million euros in cash had been stolen.

Sánchez said the criminals may have had inside information that enabled them to carry out the heist, adding that the crime was carried out by professionals.
The PDI is investigating alongside the public prosecutor, said Sánchez, who added that the necessary security protocols were not in place.

In 2017, a gang stole a cash shipment worth $19 million (about R303m) from the same airport.

Police say they suspect the gang had "inside information".

The cash shipment of dollars and euros had arrived from abroad shortly before the robbery and was due to be taken to banks in Chile.

An airport security guard was injured after receiving a blow to the head.

One of the vans used in the robbery was later found abandoned and partially burnt. Police said it did not belong to the courier company DHL but had been painted to look like it did.

It is not the first time a multi-million dollar sum has been stolen from the Arturo Merino Benítez airport. In 2014, a gang of nine men stole a cash shipment worth $10m.

Following that robbery, the airport security chief at the time was sacked.

Chile is currently experiencing serious civil unrest that has stretched security forces with demonstrations against President Sebastián Piñera ongoing since October 2019.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets Sunday to mark International Women's Day, with parts of the march turning violent.


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