An Argentinean bank was investigating Tuesday an audacious robbery in which thieves dug a 100-foot tunnel into the building to reach booty worth an estimated 10 million pesos ($818,000), Argentinean daily La Nacion reported.
Banco de la Provincia, in Buenos Aires, was infiltrated by a gang of thieves on New Year’s Eve, but the robbery was not discovered until Monday, when the bank’s workers arrived back from their long weekend.
Police found that the thieves hired a local business space in July and spent six months digging the tunnel into the bank. They stole more than 100 safety deposit boxes, amassing a haul of cash, jewelry and other valuables.
Bank officials were further embarrassed by the fact that the branch manager was notified that the bank’s alarm sounded twice over the weekend -- but, along with police who patrolled the building, could find nothing out of the ordinary.
Hundreds of angry customers have since visited the bank to find out whether their savings were stolen. Silvia Suller, a local television personality and former model, said she had shared a deposit box containing nearly half a million dollars with her brother since 2002.
"We're taking people at their word and trust them as they rely in good faith in our institution," said the bank's vice president, Gustavo Marangoni. "The message we want to send our customers is that we understand their situation, and we will protect their interests."
The bank was opening its doors Tuesday to customers who had safety deposit boxes with the institution and said it was conducting an internal investigation.
The robbers' plot mirrored that of the 2008 British film "The Bank Job," in which a gang rents a shop near a bank in order to a dig a tunnel into the building and rob safety deposit boxes.