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Chilean authorities said Wednesday they were investigating a brutal robbery at Chile's main seaport, where thieves stole several shipping containers of copper belonging to state-owned giant Codelco, Reuters reported.
Local prosecutor Juan Carlos Catalan said ten armed men attacked workers at the San Antonio port early Tuesday morning and stole 13 containers, 12 of which were copper.
“There was one guard and four workers who were tied up, beaten and locked up by the attackers, – Catalan said. The prosecutor said authorities had launched an investigation but had not yet apprehended the suspects.
Codelco said the copper was insured and destined for export. Citing police sources, local media reported that the cost of the copper plates was estimated at $4.4 million.
This robbery is the biggest theft since a spate of gang robberies in northern Chile last October forced the government to tighten security measures on trains carrying copper cathodes. The robbery increases pressure on the security of shipments of the world's largest copper producer. Mining companies in Chile have repeatedly complained about the theft of copper by specialized gangs.
“We have other crimes with similar characteristics,” – local police captain Gonzalo Garcia said, adding that it was “a well-planned robbery involving several trucks.”
“They turned off the security cameras, and once the cameras were turned off, another part of the gang entered, to intimidate the guards and workers”,– added the captain.
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