Brazil robbers caught trying to tunnel into bank

Undated handout picture released on Oct 3, 2017 by Sao Paulo's police showing handcuffed suspects lying on the ground upon their arrest.
Undated handout picture released on Oct 3, 2017 by Sao Paulo's police showing handcuffed suspects lying on the ground upon their arrest. PHOTO: AFP

SAN PAULO (AFP) - Brazilian robbers tunnelled nearly 600 m in a daring attempt to rob a bank in Sao Paulo where they hoped to nab millions of dollars, police said.

After a three-month operation, police nabbed 16 suspects late Monday (Oct 2). They swooped just before the alleged gang was able to use its impressively equipped tunnel to enter the safe at a Banco do Brasil branch in the country's financial capital.

According to the authorities, the men said they were after one billion reais, or about US$317 million (S$413 million).

"It would have been the world's biggest heist," said police chief Fabio Pinheiro Lopes on Globo television.


Undated handout picture released on Oct 3, 2017 by Sao Paulo's police showing handcuffed suspects lying on the ground upon their arrest. PHOTO: AFP 

Police said work on the tunnel began four months ago, starting from a house several blocks from the bank. It had sophisticated supports, fans and light.