It may be proving easier to steal 121 auditoriums worth of digital cinema equipment than it is to actually hide or fence the stolen devices. Early Monday morning Brazilian law enforcement discovered a warehouse in Campo Grande, Brazil filled with some of the digital cinema equipment stolen from Quanta DGT in early February.
The Delegacia Especializada de Combate ao Crime Organizado (DECO) or Special Delegation to Combat Organized Crime, had been investigating the crime since February 19th when the goods would have entered the state of Mato Grosso Do Sul. According to Ana Claudia Medina, the DECO delegate in charge of the investigation, suspicion centered on the warehouse located at 4466 Rua Filomena Segundo Nascimento, the main street in Jardim Itamaracá a section of Campo Grande, the state’s capitol.
Search and arrest warrants were issued, before DECO moved in to search out the stolen goods, though no arrests were made. The owner of the warehouse where the equipment was found was unaware his facility was being used for criminal activity, having only recently signed a lease agreement with the alleged perpetrators. “He has testified and was discarded as a member of the gang,” said Medina of the warehouse owner. “Arrest warrants have already been ordered,” she added, though would not provide further details as the investigation is ongoing.
Authorities counted up to 31 Barco projectors in the warehouse and are awaiting “experts”, presumably from Quanta DGT to arrive and examine the equipment before tallying up the number of devices that had been located. Medina said, “There is at least BRL R$5 million (USD $1.71 million) in merchandise. Witnesses said they saw at least three trucks doing the downloading. I believe that the other equipment must be in another state.”
Medina’s theory is likely correct. In mid-February, roughly 44 screens worth of digital cinema equipment turned up in the back of a semi-truck near Morro do Papagaio in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais, one of Brazil’s 26 states. In that particular instance the discovery of the stolen devices occurred by happenstance after police pulled the truck over during a routine traffic stop. The driver of the truck managed to elude captivity.