American Tourist Cuts Short Trip to Brazil After Being Robbed by Policeman

Levi Shabtai, 64, an American tourist traveling in Brazil was robbed by a policeman and a former prison guard in Belo Horizonte, the capital of the southeastern Brazilian state or Minas Gerais.

Shabtai was carrying US$ 7,200 in cash plus US$ 2,500 in traveller’s checks. All of his money was taken.

The tourist born in Israel, was robbed on Thursday, October 26. Less than 24 hours later, he was already on a plane flying back home to the United States. He had been only three days in Brazil when he was assaulted and robbed.

In his deposition to the police, the US citizen said that he had just left the office of a friend and was going to the bank to exchange dollars when he was approached by two men who didn’t seem to carry any weapon.

According to him, the men identified themselves as policemen and even presented an ID to prove it. He kept walking, however, since he had no idea what was happening.

The two men followed him  and ended up holding and tying him up with shackles  to the bars of a building. The tourist would only be freed more than 10 minutes later. The crime occurred in an upscale neighborhood of Belo Horizonte known as Funcionários.

Kennedy Mendes da Silva and Josias Manoel Delfino are in jail now after being arrested by military policemen patrolling the Palácio da Liberdade, Minas government’s headquarters.

Both suspects were recognized by the American tourist as well as by witnesses who not only saw the robbery, but also helped police chase the criminals. Despite having been caught red handed, Silva and Delfino in their deposition at the police station, denied having done anything against the American  

Court reports show that detective Silva had been sentenced for drug trafficking and his accomplice, former jailer Delfino also had been sent to jail for homicide. No one had served time however.

The Belo Horizonte’s civilian police said that the police’s review board is investigating why Silva and Delfino were not behind bars. Both men have been locked now at the Minas Gerais’s Deoesp (State Office for Special Operations).

Paulo Roberto Mayrinques, police chief at the Vespasiano’s police station, where both criminals should be jailed, has been fired. The new police chief is Elias Oscar de Oliveira.

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