Brazil thieves steal, then return, footballer's medal

RIO DE JANEIRO - Thieves in Brazil stole a gold medal won by a member of the football mad country's woman's football team - then gave it back.

The criminals' own goal began Friday when two armed men assaulted football star Tamires Britto outside a relative's home in Sao Paolo, stealing her handbag from her car, then carjacking a neighbour's vehicle.

Tamires, 27, won the medal as part of the victorious women's squad at the recent Toronto Pan American Games. After the robbery, she commented wistfully on the sense of security she enjoyed in Canada compared to crime-ravaged Brazil, which will host next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"There, we see houses without gates, with gardens in front, and here people have to live in prisons because of the violence," she told O Globo newspaper.

But the thieves showed a more sporting side Saturday, quietly returning to place the medal under a neighbour's gate, G1 news site reported.

Even if the rest of her handbag's contents are still missing, Tamires said she was glad to get her award back.

"I hadn't even had it for six days. You have to give a lot to get a medal," she told G1.