Search continues for gold flake thief; Could be in Fla.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The search continues for a suspect who police said was seen on surveillance video stealing a bucket of gold flakes off an armored truck in Midtown Manhattan.

It happened around 4:30 p.m. back on Sept. 29 as the armored truck was parked on West 48th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

The truck was left unattended for a short time, and the suspect jumped on the opportunity.

“The helpers actually left the truck to do a pick up, and the one that was securing the vehicle from the rear stepped away,” Detective Martin Pastor, from the NYPD’s Major Case Squad, told 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa.

Police said the man is seen on surveillance video scoping out the truck, that had its back door open. He then grabs an 86-pound, unmarked and sealed black metal bucket containing $1.6 million-worth of gold flakes, police said.

He lugged the bucket up the street, heading east on West 438th Street toward Third Avenue, making his way through the crowds of people who didn’t notice him carrying the five-gallon pail, police said.

At one point, the heavy weight of the bucket catches up with him as he’s seen stopping, putting it down and eventually picking it back up again. He then gets into a white Ford sedan.

Police said the man’s entire trip, usually considered to be about a 10-minute walk, took an hour.

The bucket’s disappearance was noticed after the driver returned to the truck and sat on another bucket in the rear, only realizing the bucket was missing because that’s the bucket he used to rest his feet while he sat, CBS2’s Raegan Medgie reported.

Police don’t believe the suspect knew what was in the bucket, if he was able to open it.

“It’s 48th Street, and people know the Jewelry District is 48th, 47th Streets, and all these businesses have jewelers in it,” Hank Mendelsohn, of Gold Standard, said.

“He probably didn’t even know know what’s in there,” he added. “He probably has no clue.” 

Authorities recently received a tip that the suspect could be in the Orlando/Miami area. Pawn shops there are on alert.

The Loomis armored car company is offering a $100,000 reward for the safe return of the missing gold.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

CBS New York


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