A Wild Ride: A Tale of a Brazilian Bank Heist Gone Wrong

Last Updated: June 21, 2024By

A Wild Ride: A Tale of a Brazilian Bank Heist Gone Wrong


When Érika de Souza Vieira pushed her sluggish-looking uncle into a Brazilian bank, the employees there immediately sensed something fishy was going on.

“Something’s not right. He doesn’t look well at all,” commented one suspicious clerk as Vieira tried to get her elderly relative to sign a 17,000 reais ($3,250) loan.

Paulo Roberto Braga was more than just unwell. The 68-year-old man was actually dead.

As soon as they stepped into the Rio de Janeiro bank on Tuesday, Vieira was arrested and charged with violating a corpse and attempting to steal through fraud, according to the Rio newspaper O Dia.

“She knew he was dead … he had been dead for at least two hours,” said the investigating officer, Fábio Luiz Souza, on the morning news show Bom Dia Rio on Wednesday.


“I’ve never encountered anything like this in 22 years as a cop,” added Souza, noting that signs of rigor mortis made it obvious that Braga was deceased.

The Shocking Footage

Videos of Vieira’s bizarre and creepy attempt to use her dead uncle to get money quickly spread on social media. Brazilians were shocked and appalled.

At one point in the footage—recorded by bank employees after they smelled something suspicious—an employee points out Braga’s pale skin. “That’s just how he is,” Vieira responds, then tries to put a pen in his limp hand again.

Reactions from Media

Brazilian journalists couldn’t believe what they were seeing either.

“It’s just unbelievable. It seems like a prank, but it’s real,” exclaimed news presenter Leilane Neubarth on GloboNews. “She brought a corpse into the bank and tried to get money using a dead man!”

Another journalist, Camila Bomfim, was equally stunned. “This is the last straw… It’s beyond all limits because you can clearly tell the difference between a living person and a dead person,” Bomfim said.

Vieira’s Defense

Ana Carla de Souza Correa, Vieira’s lawyer, insisted that things weren’t as they seemed. “The facts didn’t happen the way they’ve been described. Paulo was alive when he got to the bank,” Correa told reporters, claiming there were witnesses to back this up. “All of this will be cleared up,” she added. “We believe in Érika’s innocence.”

Investigation Continues

Police chief Souza mentioned he was also looking into whether Vieira was really the dead man’s niece. “Anyone who sees that footage can tell the person was dead,” he said.

Extra Tidbit: A Strange Coincidence

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Brazil has seen bizarre bank heists. In 2005, a group of thieves dug a tunnel from a rented house to the vault of a central bank in Fortaleza, stealing over $70 million. That heist, though equally audacious, didn’t involve any corpses. It’s fascinating how different the methods of theft can be—from high-tech tunnels to the shocking use of a dead body.

So, what do you think about this wild story? It’s crazy how far some people will go for money, isn’t it?

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