Worlds Biggest Bank Robbery

Worlds Biggest Bank Robbery

On the weekend of August 6, 2005, a gang of burglars tunneled into the bank and removed five containers of 50-real notes, with an estimated value of R$ 164,755,150 (about 94.3 million USD as of December, 2009) and weighing about 3.5 tons. The money was uninsured, a bank spokesperson stating that the risks were too small to justify the insurance premiums. The burglars managed to evade or disable the bank’s internal alarms and sensors, and the burglary remained undiscovered until the bank opened for business the following Monday.
Banco Central is the Brazilian central bank, charged with control of the money supply. The money in the vault was to be examined to decide whether it should be recirculated or destroyed. The bills were not numbered sequentially, making them almost impossible to trace.
Three months before the burglary, the criminals rented an empty house in the centre of the city and tunneled 78 meters (256 ft) beneath two city blocks to a position beneath the bank. The gang had renovated the house and put up a sign indicating it was a landscaping company selling both natural and artificial grass as well as plants. Neighbours, who estimated that the gang consisted of between six and ten men, described how they had seen van-loads of soil being removed daily, but understood this to be a normal activity of the business. The tunnel, being roughly 70 cm (2.3 ft) square and running 4 meters (13 ft) beneath the surface, was well-constructed: it was lined with wood and plastic and had its own lighting and air conditioning systems.
On the final weekend, the gang broke through 1.1 meters (3.6 ft) of steel-reinforced concrete to enter the bank vault. A considerable amount of time would be required to remove and transport the money due to the volume and weight of the amount that was taken.
“They worked for several months”, police said, “The gardening company was working since March. They had sophisticated equipment, including GPS, and experts in math, engineering and excavation.”
Police located a pick-up truck branded with a Grama Sintética (Synthetic Turf) logo found at the rented house. Bolt cutters, a blow torch, an electric saw and other tools used to penetrate the concrete barrier were found both inside the vault and within the empty property. The house was covered in burnt lime to avoid fingerprints.
So far, authorities have recovered only about R$ 8.93 million.

Added on: April 12th, 2012

Category: CRIME, MONEY

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