Two dead in failed attempt to steal $32.5m from Chile airport
A firefight broke out at the Santiago airport when a group of armed men attempted to seize a large shipment of cash.
An attempted multimillion-dollar airport heist in Chile has resulted in a shootout that left a would-be robber and an airport security official dead.
The botched endeavour took place on Wednesday morning at the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in the capital of Santiago. Between 10 and 12 robbers attacked as airport workers were moving $32.5m in cash off of a plane.
“Valuable cargo arrived on a LATAM plane from Miami which was to be taken by the Brinks [security] company, at which point the subjects burst into the area and were repelled by security officials,” said Eduardo Baeza, a prosecutor tasked with leading the investigation.
Organised crime has been a concern in Chile in recent years, and the airport has been targeted in the past. In 2017, an armed group stole about $18m, and three years later a similar heist took $15m from an armoured truck.
Deputy Interior Minister Manuel Monsalve told reporters on Wednesday that security officials entered into a shootout with the robbers, foiling a “highly organised, highly armed and probably very well-planned robbery”.
Authorities said that one of the assailants and an airport security official were killed.
Monsalve told reporters that the robbers tied up a security guard and entered the airport in three vehicles. The AFP news agency reported that the robbers broke through a gate and headed to the cargo area, where they hoped to intercept the $32.5m before it was moved locally.
After being confronted by security officials, the armed men reportedly fled, setting two of their vehicles on fire on a nearby highway. A search for the perpetrators is ongoing.