Brazilian authorities announced this week the capture of one of the brains of what is considered the country’s biggest ever bank robbery.
Antonio Reginaldo de Araujo was caught following on an anonymous phone call saying he lived in a neighbourhood to the south of the Sao Paulo metropolis.
Allegedly he is one of the 35 members of a gang that on 8 August 2005 emptied 164.8 million Real (approximately 71.7 million dollars) from the country’s Central Bank subsidiary in the city of Fortaleza, capital of Ceará in the northeast of Brazil.
The operation was quite simple. The gang rented a house close to the bank and during three months dug an 80 metres tunnel which led exactly below the bank’s vault.
At the time all gang members managed to flee with the money which the Police estimates weighed 3.5 tons since they were mainly small bills.
So far 28 of the participants have been arrested and condemned in some cases to 53 year sentences, as could be the case of Araújo who is considered one of the brains of the operation.
However in spite of having captured a significant number of the original members of the gang, the authorities have only been able to recover ten percent of the money stolen.
Precisely this month was the opening of the film “Robbery at the Central bank” which is based on these events and is directed by one of the country’s most renowned filmmakers.