$8 Million Stolen in Guatemala Airport Heist

September 15, 2006

GUATEMALA CITY – Robbers made off with $8 million in cash from the capital’s La Aurora International Airport Sept. 7, in what is being called the largest robbery in the country’s history.

The deputy communications minister, José Antonio Presa, said in a press conference that authorities estimated the take from the robbery at $8 million, and he denied that one of the armored car guards transporting the money was killed by the robbers.

He also said that the stolen money came from private banks here and was being transferred on their behalf to the U.S. Federal Reserve by Guatemala’s Central Bank.

The theft, which occurred at 7:30 a.m. local time, was carried out by three heavily armed men who did not fire a single shot and escaped in a vehicle belonging to the Civil Aviation Administration.

The robbers struck as the employees of an international company that transports valuables were preparing to ship the money to the United States aboard a plane, Presa said.

“There are no security cameras” in the area where the employees were working, the deputy communications minister said.

In their haste to get away, the robbers left five of the 22 bags containing money on the tarmac. The abandoned bags contained some $3 million, officials said.

“Security measures are in effect at the airport, but there are robberies everywhere, regardless of how much security you have. These types of things have happened at all the airports in the world,” Presa said.

A spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office said “the money found at the crime scene has not yet been counted, so we do not know the amount.”

He added: “No one has been arrested, but the employees of the company transporting the money and the (airport) security guards are being questioned.”

Flights, which were suspended for several hours, have resumed, and people entering and leaving the airport are being subjected to increased security checks.

 

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