Thieves held hundreds of employees hostage as they hauled away truckloads of merchandise from a factory in Sao Paulo owned by Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest smartphone maker.
About 20 bandits invaded the company’s factory in the city of Campinas, using as many as 10 trucks to steal 40,000 units of product, the press office of the state civil police force said by phone. About 200 employees were held hostage as thieves snatched tablets, mobile phones and laptop computers, Agencia Estado reported without saying where it got the information.
“Fortunately, no one was hurt,” Samsung said in an e-mailed statement. “We are cooperating fully with the ongoing police investigation and we will do our best to avoid any recurrence.”
The police have suspects in the case, their press office said without providing additional details. Samsung said it is assessing the value of the heist, which Agencia Estado pegged at 80 million reais ($36 million).
None of the culprits have been identified, and Samsung contends that the actual value of the stolen goods is lower. However, authorities suspect that the crooks had inside help; they knew not just how to get in, but also where they would find certain valuables.
Samsung will try to prevent a “repeat incident,” but a lot of damage has already been done. Those devices likely aren’t coming back, and future production runs might not be safe if the robbers really did get assistance from corrupt workers.
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