Thieves raided a Samsung electronics factory in Brazil during the night shift early Monday, subdued workers and guards, and made off with about $36 million worth of cellphones and computers.
Heavily armed men captured eight plant employees as they neared the
factory in a company bus just before midnight, said civil police in Sao
The gunmen stole the workers’ ID tags and took two of them with them
as hostages as they entered the factory in the college town of Campinas.
Once inside, they overpowered security guards and spent more than three
hours in the plant, trucking out the electronics.
“They subdued the guards, took their weapons and their ammunition and
told them to continue working as if nothing had happened,” Police Lt.
Vitor Chaves told the Globo television. Some workers were held captive
in a separate area and others were told to hand over their phones, so
they wouldn’t call the police.
In total, police suspect that 20 robbers participated, carting out
more than 40,000 finished products in seven trucks. Samsung said it was
still trying to find out how much money it had lost.
Investigators are looking at security video around the South Korean
company’s facility north of Sao Paulo to see if they can identify the
Samsung said in a statement that it was “very worried about the
incident,” but clarified that none of the employees were hurt. “We are
fully co-operating with the ongoing police investigation, and we will do
our best to prevent this happening again,” the statement said.
The head of the General Investigations unit, Carlos Henrique
Fernandes, hinted at the possibility the thieves worked with someone
inside the factory. He told reporters that it would be difficult to
commit a crime of this scale without inside help.
Campinas is known for its industrial parks where high-tech companies
such as General Electric, Hewlett Packard and Dell have established some
of their operations. But what is often called the Brazilian Silicon
Valley has also seen a spike in cargo thefts from 425 in 2012, to 657 in