Brazilian bank robbers allegedly made a grim use of hostages early Monday with the BBC reporting CCTV footage posted to social media showed people strapped to the hood and roofs of getaway vehicles. One person was "seen crouching on the hood" of a vehicle, with another person seen protruding from a van's sunroof with his hands up. The scene arose after armed men hit three banks in Araçatuba shortly after midnight. The Washington Post reports via social media and local media that at least 10 people were seen clinging to getaway cars, ostensibly as human shields. "The police can't go on the attack, they can't confront them because there are too many lives on the line," said the town's mayor.
Still, three lives were reportedly lost, with one of those belonging to a suspected robber. Per officials, the robbery was a massive one involving more than 50 participants, some of whom set vehicles on fire to block various streets and put explosive devices around the city. CNN Brasil reports a cyclist was reportedly injured by the explosives. The criminals also reportedly made use of a drone over the city to have an eye on police movements. "Even in a country long accustomed to random spasms of violence, Brazilians reacted with shock and fear," notes the Post, which says the hostages were reportedly released after the robbers escaped town. The mayor has asked people to remain at home Monday, with schools closed, as the explosives are dealt with. (Read more bank robbery stories.)