Law authorities in Chile are currently conducting an investigation after a group of armed thieves stole a dozen shipping containers loaded with approximately US$4.4 million worth of copper at the country’s main seaport.
According to a statement from local prosecutor Juan Carlos Catalan provided to Reuters, the robbers entered the San Antonio port last Tuesday morning and executed their plan in a violent manner, restraining and beating five workers prior to taking the merchandise.
The copper was fortunately insured by Codelco, the company that owned it, and it was destined to make its way to China before being stolen.
The robbery was carefully planned requiring multiple trucks
“It is a gang that may be working in San Antonio because we have other crimes with similar characteristics,” police captain Gonzalo Garcia told the local Chilean radio station Radio Cooperativa. He said the robbery was carefully planned and required multiple trucks.
Garcia added that some of the thieves cut off the security cameras while others went in to intimidate guards and workers.
“There was one guard and four workers that the assailants tied up, beat and left locked up,” said prosecutor Catalan. He added that the workers notified authorities about what had happened after they were able to free themselves and local police had launched an investigation and were reviewing security footage.
Chilean authorities have not been able to detain any suspects and according to Reuters, this type of occurrence isn’t novel in a country responsible for producing more copper than anywhere else in the world.
In 2020, the Investigations Police of Chile recovered US$250 million worth of copper that had been stolen from electrical and telecommunications companies following an investigation.
50 toneladas de cobre, principalmente cables de tendido eléctrico, fueron recuperadas por equipo #Medbro (Mercado Delictual de Bienes Robados), del área Robos y Focos Criminales. El material, avaluado en $250 millones, fue sustraído a empresas eléctricas y de telecomunicaciones. pic.twitter.com/EDtj9wOnpw
— PDI Chile (@PDI_CHILE) January 15, 2020