A group of heavily armed men struck three banks in the southern Brazilian city of Araçatuba in the early hours of Monday local time.
Police said at least three people were killed in the incident, among them was one suspect.
CCTV footage circulating on Twitter captured cars driving through the city and some of the vehicles had people secured to the hoods.
Another person could be seen holding up his hands while standing up through the van’s sunroof.
After the robbery, the gang had kidnapped a number of hostages and surrounded the local military police station.
Gang members also blocked access roads into the city by setting cars on fire, local media reported.
Na fuga, os reféns foram amarrados nos veículos. Tentativa de impedir qualquer contra-ataque da polícia ao grupo. Deus guarde essas pessoas e todos de Araçatuba. Todas as agências bancárias do centro foram invadidas - informações preliminares. pic.twitter.com/lu0hBlcTCu
— Yuri Macri (@yurimacri) August 30, 2021
According to officials, more than 50 people took part in the heist.
They blocked off roads with burning vehicles and placed explosive devices across the city.
Residents nearby said they heard sounds of gunfire and even explosions, according to BBC.
The mayor of Araçatuba Dilador Borges said police struggled to contain the situation.
— thales (@thalespatrizzi) August 30, 2021
"The police can’t go on the attack, they can’t confront them because there are too many lives on the line," he told Band TV.
He did not know if the robbers had released the hostages yet.
The mayor said the security forces had regained control of the city centre following the robbery.
Schools will remain closed on Monday.
The mayor asked everyone to stay indoors and stay safe.
This is not the first time Araçatuba has been the target of bank robbers.
In 2017, criminals robbed a private security firm which saw them take control of parts of the city city and attack police stations.