“Twenty seconds of panic” as armed robbers storm Oliveira de Azeméis café

It lasted less than most commercials, but the 20 seconds of panic in a “pastelaria” (coffee shop) in a small town near Porto has been splashed over the nation’s tabloid Correio da Manhã this morning, showing the extent of petty crime ongoing in suburban backwaters.

In this case, two masked men burst into a quiet bakery/café, shouting “this is a robbery” at startled elderly customers and making off rapidly with €600 from the tills.

According to eyewitness reports, staff as well as customers were “terrified” by the sight of a large knife being wielded by one of the raiders and passers-by “did not have the courage to act”.

The robbers made off in a stolen car, driving in the direction of the local police station where agents were still unaware that anything had happened.

It wasn’t the first violent crime in Cucujães, Oliveira de Azeméis, which is just one northern area being assailed by a “wave of thefts” and crimes, reports CM.

Caught on the hop, Cucujães GNR have “no clues” as to the robbers’ identity, say the paper, although locals do remember seeing “two young men acting suspiciously outside the café” during the hours before the attack.

Meantime, in the Lisbon suburb of Oeiras, would-be ATM thieves who attacked a machine at the Santo Amaro railway station got a surprise seconds after they blew the machine up less than 150 metres from the nearby home of education minister Nuno Crato.

Police agents’ on guard at the property responded, running to the scene and firing “at least four shots” from their firearms.

The two men ran over rail-lines, and again are reported to have left police with no clues as to who they may have been.

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