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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 08:57 GMT 09:57 UK
Life imitates art in Colombia robbery
By Jeremy McDermott
BBC correspondent in Bogota

Colombian thieves have robbed a high-security van in the city of Cali, using the same tactics shown in the Hollywood blockbuster Heat with Al Pacino and Robert de Niro.

Robert de Niro in a publicity still from the movie Heat
De Niro plays the master criminal in the Hollywood movie Heat
Eighteen masked robbers drove a bus directly at the armoured van, getting away with $350,000 in cash.

It was all over in less than 20 minutes.

In the film Heat the robbers drive a lorry straight at an armoured van, dazing the crew. They then blow off the doors and steal the cash.

In Cali the robbers used a bus and opened doors in the same way, even using spikes on the road to slow down pursuing policemen - as in the Hollywood film.

The police said that the robbery had all the hallmarks of a professional gang in Cali known as R15.

The gang, which is believed to be made up of several ex-policemen, has staged a series of heists on banks and armoured vans over the last few years.

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