by Michael Hone
$27 U.S. taken in brazen overnight break in
RIO DE JANEIRO – Like a plot from a Hollywood movie, police in this tourist mecca this morning are investigating the brazen overnight theft of U.S. $27,000 from two safes located in a restaurant on Sugarloaf Mountain, or Pão de Açúcar, as it is known locally. The restaurant is located at the peak of the 1,300 foot granite monolith and is only accessible by cable car, helicopter or by expert rock climbers, reported g1.globo.com.
The Civil Police (PC) in Precinct 10 (Botofogo) is responsible for investigating the case. Cash was taken from two safes—one that was broken open and another that was opened with a key—sometime overnight by thieves who are thought to be expert rock climbers. The crime was discovered this morning when employees reported for work.
On Monday afternoon, the assistant manager of the eatery was interviewed by police. According to investigators, she reported that one of the safes was broken open and the second was opened with a key. The key used to open the second safe, was stored in the first. Neither the woman nor another employee who was interviewed by police is considered a suspect.
The owner of the diner, who was also interviewed, said he left $46,000 reals in cash (about $27,000 U.S.) to be used on Monday to pay suppliers. In addition to the cash, the safes contained about $900 reals (about $500 U.S.) in coins which were also taken.
The restaurant had no bars on the windows or other protection, only security cameras. Due to the difficulty of reaching site when the cable cars are closed, it wasn’t thought necessary. However, the employees told police that the crime was not recorded because, since around 6:30 pm Sunday night, the surveillance unit stopped working due to a flash of bright light.
Police are searching for other images that might have recorded the crime. In a statement, officials said that the last tram carrying passengers came down from Sugarloaf at 8:40 pm on Sunday. Also according to the report, about ten minutes later, another cable car climbed and descended with all employees who work in cafes and kiosks in the popular tourist spot.
After the departure of employees, officials say that the cable cars are shut down for the night and do not return until the next day when they carry employees back up the mountain. Police are investigating weather the criminals managed to reach the summit by climbing up Morro da Urca and then Pão de Açúcar. Experts from the Carlos Eboli Crime Lab went to the restaurant to look for clues that might help explain the crime.
The police also heard complaints that indicate that 15 days earlier, a group of climbers had invaded the cafeteria when it was still closed, drinking and eating sandwiches.
Rock climbing is a popular activity in Rio de Janeiro. Some say that the city is the best location in the world for urban rock climbing. There are more than 400 locations for all grades and styles of rock climbing—many of them just minutes from the most popular hotels in the tourist zones of Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon.
The city skyline is punctuated by the world’s biggest urban forest and dozens of rock peaks featuring gneiss, granite and basalt. Guides are available for hire with equipment and training. All skill levels can be accommodated.
Within a two hour drive of the city are national parks with alpine trekking and a European atmosphere. Mountain towns with castles, breweries, cool mountain air and more. Locals will show you—Rio de Janeiro is not just carnival, beaches and soccer.
Brazilian online news source for this article: O Globo