Chile: Two people died in a $32 million airport robbery attempt
A security officer and a suspected robber were killed in an airport shootout in the Chilean capital as authorities said they attempted to steal more than $32 million in cash from a plane departing from Miami.
SANTIAGO, Chile — A security officer and a suspected robber were killed in an airport shootout in the Chilean capital on Wednesday as authorities said they tried to steal more than $32 million in cash from a plane arriving from Miami.
About 10 heavily armed robbers managed to evade security measures to reach the runway at Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, where a Latam Airlines plane was carrying $32.5 million in cash, which they transferred to an armored truck, Interior Minister Manuel Monsalve said.
There was a shootout between would-be robbers and security officials that killed an employee of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) and a suspected assailant.
The other robbers fled. Two burned out vehicles were later found nearby.
“The courageous action of DGAC officials foiled the robbery,” Monsalve said, noting that the would-be robbers were “highly organized” and “heavily armed.”
In a video posted on social media, bullet holes can be seen on a Delta plane parked next to the target’s Latam plane. Another video appears to show a moment of the shooting, during which many gunshots can be heard.
“It did not pose a danger to the passengers,” said DGAC head Raúl Jorquera.
The robbery attempt targeted the $32.5 million that was intended for an armored truck to be distributed to several banks in the South American country.
The robbery attempt “will undoubtedly lead to a review of processes, protocols that need to be improved … it forces you to rethink a lot of things,” Jorquera said.
This was not the first time that the airport of the Chilean capital was targeted. In 2020, thieves stole about $15 million from a warehouse at the airport, six years after a similar heist of $10 million.
President Gabriel Boric lamented the latest robbery in a speech on Wednesday, saying that “when there is uncertainty, everything else wobbles.”
According to opinion polls, an increase in violent crime has contributed to Boric’s recent decline in popularity.