$57 million stolen, officer killed in explosive Paraguay heist

Paraguay heist
Cars in the street were set on fire in the siege (AP)

More than NZD$57 million of cash has been stolen in a brazen robbery in Paraguay, which saw dozens of attackers take part in an explosive heist.

The vault of an armoured car company, in the border town of Ciudad del Este, was targeted in a siege which lasted more than three hours.

Dozens of armed men attacked with grenades, machine guns and explosives, setting fire to cars and blasting open the vault at around midnight on Monday (local time), according to local authorities.

At least one police officer was killed and three civilians injured during the mayhem.


Resident Alejandro Anisimoff, who lives opposite the vault, told his wife: "I don't know if we are going to get out of this alive," he told the local newspaper.

He said when they called police, they were told to lie face-down on the ground under their bed.

"We were just relieved our grandchildren weren't with us at the time."

The amount stolen has not been officially announced, but local media estimates it was around the equivalent of NZD$57 million.

It's believed the thieves fled the country by boat, taking the cash to Brazil.

Brazilian police are prepared to help in the investigation, a statement from the presidency said.