James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Hostages tied to getaway cars during terrifying bank raid in Brazil city centre
30 August 2021, 14:16 | Updated: 30 August 2021, 14:25
Bank robbers tied hostages to the outside of their getaway vehicles during a terrifying raid in Brazil.
Police said three people were killed, one of them a suspect, and more were injured during the heist in the city of Araçatuba.
Three banks were targeted in the early hours of Monday, while two suspects have now been arrested.
Fifty people took part in the heist, according to officials, during which a local military police station was also attacked.
Na fuga, os reféns foram amarrados nos veículos. Tentativa de impedir qualquer contra-ataque da polícia ao grupo. Deus guarde essas pessoas e todos de Araçatuba. Todas as agências bancárias do centro foram invadidas - informações preliminares. pic.twitter.com/lu0hBlcTCu— Yuri Macri (@yurimacri) August 30, 2021
Vehicles were set on fire to block off roads, making access difficult for the emergency services, while explosive devices were placed along the gang's escape route.
It is not clear how much money was taken or if the hostages have yet been freed.
Footage posted on social media shows cars moving through the city with hostages strapped to the roof and hood.
The mayor of Araçatuba, Dilador Borges, told Band TV: "The police can't go on the attack, they can't confront them because there are too many lives on the line."
Locals have been urged to stay indoors and warned of the danger of the explosive devices.
Bank robberies involving large gangs and the use of hostages as human shields have increased in frequency in Brazil in recent years.