Thompson SMG used in recent bank robbery in Brazil

An armed gang got together last July 10 to rob a bank in the city of Santa Margarida, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, which they did. As it frequently happens these days, when almost everyone is carrying a cell phone with a built-in video and photo camera, different scenes of the criminal action quickly emerged in the social media and TV networks.

In this footage scene, taken from a building window, two hostages (white shirts) and three armed bank robbers are seen on the pickup truck’s cargo bed, the distinguishable weapon here being a 12-ga shotgun. This was shortly after they left the bank.

One of the cell phone videos aired nationwide very shortly afterwards showed the offenders speeding away from the crime scene using a stolen pickup truck and also carrying on the cargo bed two hostages as a manner to avoid police fire. A sharp-eyed viewer (guess who?) spotted one of the fugitives holding what appeared to be a .45 ACP Thompson submachine gun. The viewer, then, managed to download said video footage and was able to produce some captured images, used here, for closer examination of the gun, information that was immediately circulated via WhatsApp to all interested parties.

As they move on to the next corner to turn left, a Military Police officer armed with a 5.56x45mm IMBEL MD97 rifle starts taking a possible firing position.

When they turn left on the next street corner, one of the criminals sees the police officer at the opposite corner and apparently fires the Thompson SMG single-handed at him.

Maybe unable to fire his gun in order to avoid collateral damage to the hostages on the moving truck, the officer is hit on the head by a bullet that raised debris (arrow) from the corner building, KIA on the spot. A security guard had been previously killed by the outlaws in the bank office.

When three of the eight bad guys were captured by PMMG – Polícia Militar de Minas Gerais (Minas Gerais State Military Police) agents a few hours later, the weapon’s ID was confirmed: an M1/M1A1 Thompson!  Other weapons seized with them were a retractable-stock 9x19mm H&K MP5 submachine gun and three 12-ga pump-action shotguns, in addition to a reasonable supply of ammunition and some ballistic vests.

The seized guns and ammo used in the Santa Margarida bank robbery. Although the perpetrators were quickly arrested by the Mina Gerais State Military Police, two valuable lives were regrettably lost to their criminal actions.



Ronaldo Olive

Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.


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  • TVOrZ6dw

    You might have to go back to the 1930’s, but a headline reading “Thompson submachine gun used in bank heist” is not new.
    I’m curious about the provenance of that gun and the stories of where it’s been over the years.

    • SP mclaughlin

      “An incredible gun that spits out unbelievable tales – but the most amazing thing is that they’re all true.”

  • DanGoodShot

    If they knew what they had they probably would have gotten’ more money on the black marcket for the Thompson than they did in the bank robbery. It would have been a lot less risky and nobody would have died.

    • FlaBoy

      That’s what I was thinking. Did the idiot know what that gun is worth today? (Of course, the key point is “idiot”.)

      • iksnilol

        Meh… a Thompson isn’t too useful for crime so wouldn’t catch a too high price. Would catch a better price to a collector or somebody wanting one as a status symbol (and even then, an M4 with a M203 is easier and gets more respect).

    • RICH

      I have a ’28A1 and have it insured for $30k plus. I’m sure they didn’t get that from the bank. The last time II was going to buy a car I went to the bank to get some cash and had to wait three days for the bank to “order” the money !

  • DW

    Running in the 30s~

  • Marc

    That there are a couple of pieces of nice hardware. I could give them a nice home.

  • Major Tom

    Needs more fedora, pinstripes and violin case.

    • Anonymoose

      And suicide doors!

  • B-Sabre

    All the fixation on the gun in the comments, and not one mention of 1) the death of a policeman in the line of duty (my regrets to his family) or 2) the fact that TFB has just published what is essentially a snuff picture – the moment just before the death of the officer – when it adds nothing to the topic of the story itself.

    • Ronaldo Olive

      Are you sure you actually read the whole text, namely, the end of the last photo caption?

      • B-Sabre

        Are you sure you read my entire comment?

        All the fixation on the gun in the comments
        My first issue is with the commenters mostly, though there is still the second issue where I wonder if having a photo showing the literal millisecond before a law officer loses his life in the conduct of his duties really conforms to TFB’s editorial standards. Would the point of the article (the use of a relatively rare and famous firearm) be any less if the photo had been omitted?
        Your regard for the bank guard and police officer (and their families) is noted, and appreciated.

        • Ronaldo Olive

          Roger.

      • RICH

        ” two valuable lives were regrettably lost to their criminal actions.” Is this what you mean ?

    • John

      This is a firearms blog. Yes, we offer our condolences to the family. But the gun’s still sweet.

    • Raginzerker

      Look guys! A sjw! This a blog about guns dude

      • RICH

        ….and lives don’t matter ?

      • iksnilol

        If I post a GIF of 3 US Marines getting shot by a sniper (like, in literally seconds from another, right in the head each. I got one in my folder of messed up stuff) and asked about the gun one of the guys was using before getting shot… would you still say “oh, this is a blog about guns, so it’s okay?”

        Or would you whine and be an “SJW” about it?

        • Raginzerker

          Yes, I would say the same thing, you used marines thinking i’ll somehow think different?

          • iksnilol

            Hmm… I’m tempted to post that gif now. But I feel like Phil would ban me then.

          • Raginzerker

            Go for it dude, I’m sure I’ve already seen it

    • Tex

      Officer is dead, thats a tragedy. But no more so than the many others (hundreds? thousands?) that get murdered every week in the favelas of Brazil. We don’t talk about those either. Because this isn’t The Human Rights Blog, its The Firearms Blog. So we discuss the firearms.

      • iksnilol

        Still, kinda callous to post a snuff pic.

  • PK

    Awful, awful stuff. I hope the other five criminals are caught.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    He wouldnt have gotten caught if he didnt spell his name in bullets on the outside of the bank.

  • Rico Balagbag

    smh people taking PAYDAY 2 too seriously

    • iksnilol

      Friggin’ noobs as well, that is far from optimal configuration.

  • Al Wise

    It’s rather absurd to suggest it has much collector value outside the NFA registry. Apples and oranges. Look at all the MP-44s floating around the middle east. Thompsons were exported the Brazil along with M-3 Stuart tanks. No mystery there.