An attempted robbery at Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport resulted in the deaths of a security officer and an alleged robber on Wednesday. The robbers were targeting an armored truck that had just arrived from Miami, carrying over $32 million in cash. The attempted heist has raised concerns about the security measures in place at the airport, and is the latest in a string of high-profile robberies in Chile.
According to Interior Subsecretary Manuel Monsalve, the robbers were heavily armed and highly organized, able to breach the airport’s security measures and reach the runway where the Latam airlines aircraft carrying the cash was parked. Despite the efforts of security officials, a shootout broke out between the robbers and security personnel, resulting in the deaths of a security officer and one of the alleged robbers.
The remaining robbers managed to escape, leaving behind two burned vehicles that were later found nearby. The attempted heist has led to concerns about the effectiveness of airport security measures, with DGAC chief Raúl Jorquera stating that the incident “will undoubtedly lead us to revise processes, protocols that must be improved… it forces us to rethink many things.”
This is not the first time that Santiago’s airport has been targeted by thieves. In 2020, thieves stole $15 million from a warehouse on the airport grounds, and six years prior to that, a similar heist saw thieves make off with $10 million. The repeated incidents have highlighted the need for improved security measures and protocols to protect against future robberies.
The attempted robbery at Santiago’s airport comes at a time of increased violence in Chile. Recent polls have shown a decline in President Gabriel Boric’s approval ratings, with an increase in violent crime being cited as a contributing factor. The government has pledged to take action to address the rise in violent crime, including increasing police presence and implementing stricter penalties for offenders.
The attempted robbery has also raised concerns about the security of cash transportation in Chile. The armored truck targeted by the robbers was transporting over $32 million in cash to several banks in the country. Despite the high value of the cash being transported, the robbery raises questions about the security protocols in place for cash transportation in Chile and the effectiveness of measures taken to protect against such incidents.
The incident has also highlighted the need for greater international cooperation in addressing cross-border criminal activity. The cash transported from Miami to Santiago was a target for the robbers, who were likely aware of its high value and organized their operation accordingly. Improved communication and coordination between law enforcement agencies in different countries could help to prevent future robberies and improve overall security.
In response to the attempted robbery, the government has pledged to review and improve security measures at Santiago’s airport and other high-risk locations in the country. The incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by law enforcement agencies in protecting against organized crime and highlights the need for continued efforts to improve security and prevent future incidents.