Two bank robbers made their getaway Wednesday with $98,000 and three hostages but left behind, as a token of thanks, almost $20,000 in the border town bank they held for nearly a week.
The two men released their lone original hostage in a Banco do Brasil office in Goio-Ere, some 600 miles west of Rio, in exchange for free passage to fly to freedom and three volunteer hostages - a pilot, a priest and a nun, police said.Authorities let them flee to the airport where they took off in a small plane with the hostages.
"No one knows where they are going, but we do not believe they will try to leave the country," said a police spokesman by telephone from Goio-Ere.
The town, located near the Paraguayan and Argentine borders, was thrust into the national spotlight after the two men seized the bank with 37 hostages last Thursday.
They gradually released all of them except the bank manager who was let go just before the robbers fled.
Police gave in to their demands for $117,000 on Saturday but then dragged out negotiations in an apparent effort to wear down the two, who police said appeared to be experienced bank robbers.
The end of the bank siege took a bizarre twist when the robbers told local radio they were leaving $19,000 behind as "a token of thanks to the town."
Police found the money inside the bank.