Thieves in Peru steal gold, cash in huge airport heist

 Thieves in Peru stole 123 kilograms (270 pounds) of gold and more than $2 million from armored cars on an airport runway, police said Monday.

Reuters| Updated: Sep 01, 2015, 05:34 AM IST

Lima: Thieves in Peru stole 123 kilograms (270 pounds) of gold and more than $2 million from armored cars on an airport runway, police said Monday.

The dozen-odd robbers fired gunshots and tear gas as they tried to flee after the heist late Friday at the airport in the southern city of Juliaca.

Part of the loot -- 30 kilograms of gold and Peruvian soles worth $300,000 -- were recovered and six suspected robbers were arrested.

The thieves burst onto the runway in two vehicles and robbed three armored cars that were delivering the gold and money to a plane waiting to take off for Lima.

In addition to the gold, they took four million soles, equivalent to $1.2 million, plus another $1 million.

As the gang opened fire in their flight, passengers of two planes on the runway had to duck for cover.

Police director general Vicente Romero said the gang was very well organized.

The six arrested suspects face life in prison.

The gang had planned to flee to neighboring Bolivia. One of the detainees is Bolivian.

Peru is enduring an unprecedented crime wave. Crimes involving hired killers and extortion have become everyday occurrences.

A poll released in July found that 76 percent of Peruvians say they do not feel safe in their country due to rampant crime.