By Mary Carroll, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Police officers of the 38th Precinct (Braz de Pina) have identified at least three gangs specialized in stealing cars in the area of Dutra, on the BR-040, Avenida Brasil and nearby roads. The most recent was a doctor, 71, and his wife, 58, targeted by gang members on Friday morning at Trevo das Margaridas, Jardim América, in Zona Norte (North Zone) of the city.
According to a report in O Globo, four men approached them in a car at the end of Avenida Meriti. The men shot at the couple’s Passat more than ten times with one of the bullets grazing the cardiologists head.
Although he was wounded, the doctor managed to drive to the headquarters of the Federal Highway Police (Polícia Rodoviária Federal) of the Presidente Dutra Highway. From there, he was admitted to Hospital Getúlio Vargas, in Penha.
The incident comes in the same weel a businesswoman, Teresa Fontaine, 47, was killed after being caught by bandits at the Duque de Caixas in Baixada Fluminense, while returning from Petrópolis on Sunday. Soon after leaving a gas station, she was intercepted by two vehicles, one of the criminals shot her.
According to the police team delegate Roberto Cardoso, the criminals are from the favelas Furquim Mendes, Dique and Cidade Alta. They usually rob around specific areas and highways such as Avenida Brasil, Presidente Dutra and Washington Luiz.
These cases have occurred shortly after Institute of Public Security (ISP) releasing optimistic data on violence in the state of Rio de Janeiro. In comparing the period from January to May this year, with the same period in 2011, criminal acts (such as street robberies) fell by 3,490.
In 2012 there were 26,074 criminal acts recorded, in contrast to 2011 which had 29,564 criminal acts recorded. According to the ISP, the number of murders in the first five months of the year is the lowest since the beginning of 1991.
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