Around 20 armed men seized a Samsung factory in Brazil late Sunday evening, taking hostage up to 50 employees and stealing truckloads of Samsung gadgets worth $6.3 million.
Brazil's public security secretariat announced that seven men armed with sub-machine guns hijacked an employee shuttle on the way to one of Samsung's biggest manufacturing facilities located on the Campinas industrial center, just on the southeastern outskirts of Sao Paolo. The robbers reportedly took two of the eight passengers with them to the factory, while accomplices drove off with the remaining six employees to an undisclosed location where they were set free.
The assailants drove to the factory with their hostages and, after disarming security guards, forced more than 200 employees to remove the batteries on their cell phones so they are unable to communicate with the outside world. Around 50 more employees were taken hostage, but the rest were allowed to go about their work as long as they did not attempt to turn their phones back on. earlier reports stated that the value of the loot was pegged at $36 million but the estimate was later corrected by Samsung.
Thirteen other men entered the building and the robbers proceeded to raid the factory, taking with them seven truckloads of Samsung products, including more than 40,000 laptops, tablets and mobile phones worth $6.3million. Samsung employees said the thieves were not violent at any point, resulting in zero casualties. The thieves took nearly four hours to gather their loot and drive away.
State police announced that they already have suspects, but declined to provide further details beyond the suspicion that the heist was an inside job given the robbers' knowledge of the factory's floor plan and operations. Local news media have aired images taken from the factory's security cameras showing the armed robbers wearing black clothes and dark head covers. The images show they were using a pallet loader to push crate after crate of Samsung products into their getaway trucks.
For its part, Samsung said insurance will cover the costs of the raid and is working with Brazil's police department to track down the thieves.
"We are very concerned about this incident," says Samsung in a statement. "Fortunately, nobody was hurt. We are fully cooperating with the ongoing police investigation, and we will do our best to avoid it happening again."
This isn't the first time Samsung products have become the subject of high-profile thefts. In 2012, a 27-year-old man named Leonard Arrington from Long Island pleaded guilty to robbing four T-Mobile stores in New York and New Jersey, where he and an accomplice tied employees to the back of the stores while they pilfered off hundreds of mobile devices, including many Samsung flagship products.