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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 22:22 GMT 23:22 UK
Brazil robbers tunnel way to $1m
Sao Paulo
The Sao Paulo firm is part of one of Brazil's biggest security companies
Brazilian police are hunting a highly organised gang of robbers who tunnelled their way into a transport company from a nearby house and made off with $1.6m.

About 12 men, wearing monkey and clown masks, broke through into the Sao Paulo firm's bathroom after digging a 120m tunnel, police said.

The robbers ordered the 75 startled employees to stuff money into bags.

Police think the gang may have had inside help as the bathroom was the only room without an alarm.

Staff at the Sao Paulo company, which transports money for banks, were on the late shift on Monday night tallying notes for automatic teller machines.

Suddenly they were faced with a dozen armed and masked men who ordered them to put the money, some 4.7m Brazilian reais, into bags.

The men then fled back through the tunnel.

"They mapped the tunnel with exact precision," police chief Naif Saadi told the Associated Press.

The company, Nordeste Transbank, is part of one of Brazil's biggest security firms and transports money for some of the country's biggest banks, the state oil company and the post office.

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