Ann Shlegel

Banco Central burglary at Fortaleza. Suspects Timeline

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Fortaleza, Central Bank /


The Brazilian Federal Police is investigating a possible connection between the burglars and car resellers in Fortaleza. On August 10, 2005 the Military Police of Minas Gerais arrested two men driving a car-carrying truck in Sete Lagoas, near Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais. More than R$ 2.13 million was recovered in three pickup trucks being transported.
Five men were arrested on September 28, 2005 with about R$ 5.22 million of the money and told the police they had helped dig the tunnel. Eighteen suspects remain at large. Prosecutors have said the group tried unsuccessfully to charter a small plane days before the robbery to escape and move the money out of the country.
On October 20, 2005 the body of one of the alleged masterminds, Luis Fernando Ribeiro, 26, was found on an isolated road near Camanducaia, 200 miles (320 km) west of Rio de Janeiro. He had been shot seven times and had handcuff marks on his wrists. – It was definitely because of the robbery, – according to a police official of Minas Gerais who identified himself only as Corporal Leonino.
Ribeiro fled from Fortaleza to São Paulo after the robbery and was kidnapped on October 7, 2005. His family paid R$ 893,600 in ransom, but he was not freed. There were signs that police officers have been involved in the kidnapping and killing, and three of them have been arrested.
On October 28, 2005 a person linked to a former security guard involved in the burglary was arrested with R$ 85,100 and on November 10 three more suspects were arrested.
From October 22, 2005 until April 13, 2006 the police discovered six kidnappings related to this robbery and in all cases the relatives of the victims paid the ransom.
On August 1, 2006 Brazilian authorities found R$ 178,100 buried in a house in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte.
A prepaid phone card was found inside the tunnel. The Federal Police located the cell phone associated with it and had it wiretapped. On September 1, 2006 a special operation named Operação Facção Toupeira (Operation Mole Faction) was started, leading the police to arrest 43 people suspect of involvement on the heist including one of the alleged masterminds, and recovering R$ 275,100 in cash.
On October 3, 2006 the body of another suspect, Evandro José das Neves, was found at a favela in São Paulo.
On January 28, 2007 Márcio Rafael Pierre, another of the alleged masterminds, was arrested in São Paulo. On April 19, also in São Paulo, a suspect named Edson Pereira de Queiroz was arrested.
So far, authorities have recovered only about R$ 8.93 million.

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