By Laura Madden, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Thirty people were robbed at gunpoint while on a mountain hike at Pedra da Gávea in Tijuca forest Sunday morning. Gunshots were exchanged between the thieves and an off-duty policeman who happened to be nearby.
About thirty people, in separate small groups, went on an early-morning excursion to watch the sun rise on Sunday. At certain points along the trail, they were robbed at gunpoint by three hooded thieves.
The first robbery was at the top, where the thieves surprised the hikers when they shot bullets into the air, taunting “Game over!”
“They made us get on our knees,” recounted one of the victims Talita Pinheiro, a 25-year-old biomedical doctor from Copacabana. “They took R$60 of mine, my camera, my mobile phone and my documents.”
The thieves slowly made their way down the trail, holding up victims along the way and taking mobile phones, watches, documents, cameras and cash.
Inspector Gabriel Martins, from the Special Resources Coordination office (Core), was in civilian clothing while practicing base-jumping when he heard the cries of a group of victims. He exchanged gunfire with the robbers, who temporarily took a hostage.
The hostage was released when the robbers fled the scene. No one was injured in the shooting.
Another victim, economist Lamhnt Leonardo, handed over everything he had on him, including R$100. He lamented this type of crime at Pedra da Gávea is not new.
“I did the trail last week and found a couple of American tourists who had been robbed. It’s sad because it is becoming routine. Pacification does no good if you don’t police the city, the sights.”
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