SANTIAGO - Chile's Investigative Police, or PDI, arrested 14 people belonging to a gang that on Oct. 31, 2014 robbed an armored car that was carrying close to $1 million, officials said.
According to the PDI, the gang's leaders and their partners are under arrest awaiting trial for making off with a mountain of cash from an armored car of the Prosegur company, which at the time forced the Carabineros militarized police to block traffic on Route 68, the main expressway to the seaside resort city of Viņa del Mar.
Police operations were directed by the Robbery Investigation Brigade (Biro) of the Santiago metropolitan region.
PDI officials told EFE that the same gang was found to have carried out at least one other such assault. Previously, on Oct. 3, 2014, they held up another armored car and one of the thieves was killed in the process.
"Up to now we have established that the gang stole close to $1 million, though we have managed to seize several properties they acquired with the stolen money, but not the cash," the police official said.
Gang members bought two homes in the city of Quinteros, one in San Antonio, another in Algarrobo and finally, one in El Quisco, all on the central coast of Chile, as well as 10 brand new vehicles.
In 2014, according to official records, 20 armored cars were looted for a total haul of $18 million, an amount 10 times greater than all the money stolen in similar crimes in 2013.
The most daring robbery last year was undoubtedly the one on Aug. 12, when eight criminals fooled the entire air terminal security force and got away with some $10.5 million after assaulting a Brink's armored car in the loading zone of Santiago International Airport
Several of those robbers, of whom six are under arrest, went dressed as airport workers with fake IDs before the armored car arrived, and when the other gangsters joined them, they all put on ski masks and brandished firearms, including an assault rifle, witnesses said.