Police in Sao Paulo state shot and killed 10 assailants who were preparing to simultaneously blow up automated bank teller machines at two branches early on Thursday, authorities said.
Sao Paulo state’s Public Security Secretariat said in a statement that about 25 suspects were involved in the attempts to blow up the machines to get at the cash inside, a common type of crime in Brazil.
One of the banks was located next to a police station.
One police commander told the TV Globo network the criminal group was prepared for war and, aside from arriving in five armored cars, were armed with high-caliber rifles and body armor.
Police arrived at the banks and confronted the assailants, who fled and led police on a rolling shootout through the city of Guararema, located about 60 kilometers east of central metropolitan Sao Paulo.
The suspects broke into a home at one point and held the residents hostage, but the police managed to free them, the note from the secretariat read, without providing more details.
No police were injured during the operation. It was not clear if any suspects were in custody.
Police commander Mario Silva told the Globo TV that the criminal group was under surveillance, and that “we already knew they were going to carry out an attack in this area.”
“We did not know exactly where the attack would take place,” Silva said. “But we increased police forces in the area over the past 24 hours.”