Thieves steal $38m in phones, tablets from Samsung factory

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Thieves steal $38m in phones, tablets from Samsung factory

Workers held hostage for 40,000 devices.

Armed robbers attacked a Samsung factory near Sao Paulo in Brazil late yesterday and held workers hostage while they robbed truckloads of smartphones, tablets and notebooks that police valued at US$36 million (A$38 million).

The dramatic heist, carried out by attackers who carjacked a shuttle used by factory employees, took place overnight during nearly four hours in Campinas, an industrial hub in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo.

A spokesman for the state's public security secretariat said the bandits made off with seven trucks laden with more than 40,000 Samsung products. State police are investigating the attack, he added, but said no suspects have yet been identified.

A spokesman for Samsung in Sao Paulo confirmed the heist but said police estimates for the value of the stolen goods were too high. He said roughly 100 employees were present at the factory during the robbery, but declined to give further details.

"We have cooperated fully with the police investigation that is underway and will do our best to avoid any sort of repeat incident," a Samsung spokesperson said in a statement.

According to the police report, seven armed assailants stopped the shuttle on its way to the factory and took over the vehicle. Colleagues took all but two of the eight employees originally on board to a remote location, where they were set free.

Just before midnight, the assailants proceeded with the two other employees to the factory, where they disarmed security guards, gathered the rest of the plant's employees and made sure none of them could communicate with the outside.

With the coast clear, the attackers then allowed 13 other culprits, driving the getaway trucks, into the factory. The robbers, communicating with one another by radio and cell phones, then proceeded to load the vehicles with the loot.

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