Bank robbers ‘strap people on car roofs’ as human shields

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Armed robbers attacked several banks in a small Brazilian town on Monday, using locals as human shields, leaving a trail of explosives and firing at police in an attack that killed at least three people, a senior state security service. official said.

The brutal midnight attack in Araçatuba, a city of about 200,000 in the interior of the state of Sao Paulo, is the latest in a series of increasingly violent recent bank robberies here in Brazil. Experts believe a COVID-19 pandemic welfare program for poor Brazilians has encouraged robbers to plan daring raids on sleepy regional cities where bank branches store more money.

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