September 18, 2005 in Nation/World

Six Brazilians charged in $70 million bank robbery

Associated Press

SAO PAULO, Brazil – Federal prosecutors have charged six men accused of stealing $70 million from Brazil’s Central Bank last August in one of the world’s biggest bank robberies, media reported Saturday.

Those charged Friday include three men who were arrested shortly after the robbery, and another three who are still at large, the local Agencia Estado news service said.

The alleged thieves spent three months tunneling under a busy city avenue in Fortaleza, a city about 1,500 miles northeast of Sao Paulo, to break into the Central Bank vault and steal the equivalent of $70 million in Brazilian currency, the real.

Prosecutors said the group tried to charter a small plane a couple of days before the robbery to use it in the escape and to transport the money out of the country.

Prosecutors also said some of the money stolen was taken from Fortaleza to Sao Paulo hidden inside grain sacks in a commercial flight.

More than $2 million in cash was recovered shortly after the heist.

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