A military armory at Tancos Air Base, about 60 miles North of Lisbon, Portugal had a break-in on Wednesday in what local defense officials are referring to as a “very professional” job and a “serious” breach of security.

Although the Portuguese military has been clear that they do not intend to release the details of the incident until the investigation has concluded, they have provided an overview of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Sometime on Wednesday, individuals were able to gain access to Tancos Air Base by cutting a hole in the base’s perimeter fence.  They went on to gain access to one of Portugal’s armories within the installation and steal a large number of various sorts of grenades and other explosives, as well as nearly 1,500 rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition.

The armory had no operational electric security or surveillance equipment, and was guarded by military police patrols.  Reports indicate that there are closed-circuit cameras at the site, but they have been broken for over two years.

According to Spanish media reports which claimed to receive the list from their own anti-terror units, the following explosives and ammunition were among the stolen military hardware and equipment:

  • 1,450 9mm ammunition cartridges
  • 150 hand grenades
  • 44 anti-tank grenades
  • 18 tear gas grenades
  • 102 explosive charges
  • 264 pieces of plastic explosive

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called on his nation’s military to conduct a “no holds-barred” investigation into the theft of these weapons, before adding that any potential links to arms thefts in other NATO states should be looked at as a part of the investigatory process.

He went on to call on military leaders to take action immediately in order to prevent any further thefts from occurring.

Forest fires claimed the lives of 64 people in Portugal last month, prompting center-right opposition party leader, Assunção Cristas, to accuse the Portuguese military of a “crisis of authority and a crisis of leadership.”  She called for the firing of the Portuguese Defense Minister in the aftermath of the crisis.