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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

$5 million stolen in six-minute Lufthansa plane heist

No arrest yet after the spectacular theft in Brazil

The thieves made off quickly from the Lufthansa plans. This image is for illustrative purposes. Lukas Schulze / EPA
The thieves made off quickly from the Lufthansa plans. This image is for illustrative purposes. Lukas Schulze / EPA

A group of thieves stole $5 million (Dh18.4m) in cash, which had been due to travel from Brazil to Switzerland aboard a Lufthansa jet, at a large freight airport near Sao Paulo, police said on Monday.

The spectacular heist, which took place late on Sunday, was completed in a matter of minutes, and authorities have yet to arrest a suspect.

The crooks entered Viracopos International Airport's freight terminal using a pickup on which they had "placed stickers mimicking the runway security company's logo," federal police said in a statement.

Germany-based Lufthansa's plane had been travelling from Guarulhos airport in Sao Paulo and was making a stop at Viracopos – Brazil's biggest freight terminal – with Zurich as its final destination.

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The stolen money had been held under the auspices of secure transport provider Brinks, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

The daily said five men had threatened security agents on the runway before taking off with the cargo, in barely six minutes.

There was no immediate sign of injuries, the airport said.

Cargo theft is on the rise in Brazil, where most targets are semi-trucks, especially those serving Rio de Janeiro.