On Tuesday, the New York Police Department released startling security footage showing the moment that a daring thief stole a bucket containing gold flakes valued at $1.6 million from the back of an armored vehicle parked on a street in bustling midtown Manhattan.
The brazen thief took advantage of a 20-second window of distraction when security guards were not looking, grabbing the pot of gold from the back of an armored truck operated by a private security company.
Police released the surveillance footage showing the man stealing the five-gallon aluminum bucket of gold from the back of the armored truck in the hope of obtaining information that could lead to the arrest of the man and the recovery of the loot.
The video shows the thief hauling the heavy bucket off the back of the armored truck parked on a busy street in broad daylight. He made his move after a security guard left his position for only a few seconds to fetch his cell phone. He picked up the black bucket from the back of the truck and then walked off calmly but struggling with the heavy pot of gold.
The incident happened at about 4:30 p.m. on September 29 on West 48th Street and Fifth Avenue, police said, according to ABC News.
Surveillance footage shows the man loitering around the vicinity of the truck with a bag on his back. He walks past the truck repeatedly, keeping watch.
One of the guards leaves the side of the truck apparently to make another pickup while his mate walks to the front seat of the truck to retrieve his cell phone.
The thief moves quickly and expertly. He walks up to the open back of the truck and looks inside briefly before lifting the bucket. He walks hurriedly, and it is clear from the footage that he is having considerable difficulty lifting the heavy pot of loot.
The video shows the man, believed to be aged between 50 and 60, struggling to lift the bucket.
He sets the bucket down on the sidewalk for a brief rest after carrying it for some time. He eventually jumps into a van at 49th Street and Third Avenue, according to NBC 4 New York.
NYPD said it took the thief about an hour to carry the gold over a distance that would normally take about 10 minutes.
“Anyone with information in regards to the alleged theft is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or 1-888-57-PISTA (for Spanish). All calls are kept strictly confidential. The public can also submit tips at Crime Stoppers’ website at www.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.com or by texting 274637(CRIMES) and entering TIP577.”
“An armored truck company making a pick-up discovered that a 5 gallon aluminum pail weighing 86 pounds containing gold flakes (valued at 1.6 million dollars) was stolen from the rear of their armored truck,” the New York Police Department (NYPD) said in a statement, according to the Telegraph.
“The unidentified individual is seen lifting the 5 gallon pail from the truck and fleeing East bound on West 48 Street toward Third Avenue,” the statement added.
Police described the thief as male, Hispanic, about five feet six inches tall, 150 pounds, and between 50- and 60-years-old. He was wearing a black vest, a green shirt, and blue jeans, according to the NYPD news release.
“I think he just saw an opportunity, took the pail and walked off,” NYPD Detective Martin Pastor told NBC New York. “I think when the lucky charm opened up the bucket, he seen the rainbow and seen the gold.”
Police said it is possible that the thief was not aware of what was inside the bucket at the time he stole it from behind the truck.
Investigators believe he could be hiding out with the loot in Orlando or Miami.
It was not clear who owned the missing bucket of gold flakes, but the area in New York where it was stolen is the city’s jewelry district.
[Featured Image by Baloncici/Shutterstock]