Brazilian police kill 5 suspected bank robbers

Rio de Janeiro, Dec 28 (EFE).- Five suspected thieves died in a shootout with police in Brazil's largest city after a group of at least 10 people tried to rob two automatic teller machines at a local bank, authorities said.

The incident occurred about 11 p.m. on Sunday in Franco da Rocha, one of the cities comprising the Sao Paulo metropolitan area, police said.

The group of thieves were trying to force open two ATMs at a Banco do Brasil branch when they were surprised by police acting on an anonymous tip.

The thieves tried to flee in two vehicles, opening fire on pursuing officers at different spots in downtown Franco da Rocha.

Finally, five of the suspects were killed and two others arrested. No cops were injured, but some of the shots fired by the fleeing thieves hit their vehicles.

Several members of the criminal group managed to escape, although they were unable to make off with any loot.

According to police Maj. Cassio de Freitas, the criminals were experienced and were heavily armed, packing - among other weaponry - submachineguns.