Santa Catarina’s military police, a state agency with numerous battalions, have been called in and sought support to confront the group, according to local reports.
Christian Dimitri Andrade, commander of the military police in Crisium, told reporters that the attackers were “several men with rifles, long weapons” and described them as “an organized crime gang specializing in bank robberies”. He said two people, including a police officer, were shot dead.
“We receive information from residents who send us photos and videos,” he told Engeplus, a local newsletter.
Criciuma, with a population of over 133,000 as of 2010, is in the state of Santa Catarina and is considered the center of the Brazilian ceramic and floor industry.
Bank robberies in Brazil, which is among the worst levels of crime and murder in the world, are hardly uncommon. In recent years, gangs have tried to make their way through millions through tunnels, blown up dynamite to rob bank branches and blew up ATMs in an attempt to extract money.
In 2005, thieves rented a house one block from a bank, set up a fake gardening business and spent three months digging a 262-foot tunnel under a bank in the seaside town of Fortaleza. They earned more than $ 50.8 million, authorities said.
In 2017, Brazilian police opened a tunnel with electric lighting and ventilation, thwarting a planned robbery of a branch in Sao Paulo of the state-owned Banco do Brasil. 16 suspects were arrested.
Yang Juan contributed to the reporting.