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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 September 2005, 00:12 GMT 01:12 UK
Some Brazil bank theft cash found
House used by bank robbers in Fortaleza
The gang worked from a suburban house opposite the bank
Brazilian police have recovered some $4.3m (2.4m) of the $68m (38m) stolen in the country's biggest bank robbery.

Officers found the money in a house in Fortaleza, where the raid took place.

In the raid, police also arrested five suspects. Three more people had been detained eight days ago.

It is believed a gang of between 10 and 20 people reached the central bank from a nearby house by digging a 200m (656ft) tunnel.

Well-organised

The tunnel is said to have been 70cm (28 inch) high. It was reportedly lined with wooden panels and plastic sheeting and had electric lighting.

The thieves dug for three months and eventually managed to perforate the vault's steel-reinforced concrete floor.

The money found on Wednesday was stashed in a hole in the floor, a police statement said.

Investigators now believe the gang had tried to charter a small plane ahead of the heist to make off with the money.

Some $2m in cash was recovered soon after the robbery, on board trucks on a vehicle transporter hundreds of kilometres (miles) from Fortaleza.

In August, police said they believed one of Brazil's two largest criminal gangs and drug cartels - either the First Command or the Red Command - might be behind the theft.

The world's biggest bank robbery ever is believed to have taken place in Iraq in 2003, when $900m plus a sum in euros was stolen from Iraq's central bank.




SEE ALSO:
Brazil bank robbery suspects held
11 Aug 05 |  Americas
Brazil public 'to pay for heist'
10 Aug 05 |  Americas
'Record' bank robbery in Brazil
08 Aug 05 |  Americas



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