Armed thieves in Brazil steal Samsung tablets, phones

Samsung phone in pocketBrazil suffered one the largest electronics thefts in its history over the weekend when armed robbers raided a Samsung factory in São Paulo state.

Around 20 thieves with automatic weapons raided the facility in Campinas during the evening of July 6, subduing some 200 workers and guards in a four-and-a-half-hour ordeal. The raiders kidnapped eight employees and used their identity documents to gain access to the plant.

Two workers - both security staff - were held as hostages during the raid though thankfully no-one was injured.

All told around eight trucks containing around 40,000 Samsung tablets and phones were taken from the facility. Initial reports placed the value of the haul at around $23m although this was later revised down to around $6m, according to civil police in São Paulo.

Samsung said it is still trying to establish the scale of the incident but was confident that insurance will cover its losses and costs.

"It is regrettable the incident took place. However, it is fortunate that there were no casualties," said the Korean electronics giant in a statement.

"The police are currently investigating the incident, and we will fully cooperate with the police authorities and will make utmost efforts to resolve this issue."

Cargo security specialist Freightwatch reported recently that Brazil averages around 13,000 cargo thefts a year, although it stressed this is an underestimate as incidents often go unreported. Most of those thefts involved freight in transit although facility raids are not uncommon.

The states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo experienced significant increases in cargo thefts in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013, up 62 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

"Industry sources in Brazil believe some drug traffickers and other organized criminals turned to cargo crime in São Paulo state after [police] deployed to gang-controlled areas had some successes," says Freightwatch.

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