Sunday, 28 August 2016

Inside the 2015 North Carolina $4.8M gold bar heist


16 months ago, a truck that was on its way to Massachusetts to deliver gold bars worth millions, was intercepted by three armed men near Wilson, North Carolina. Now the FBI has revealed how thieves used high-tech gizmos to make off with gold.

Agents identified the alleged ringleader as Adalberto Perez, 46. He was arrested in March at his home in the Miami suburb of Opa-Locka, Florida, almost exactly a year after the March 2015 robbery in Wilson County, North Carolina. Two accomplices remain at large. It appears the case was cracked when a friend of Perez came forward. According to an FBI affidavit unsealed in federal court, the friend said Perez spent about a year preparing for the heist.

Ringleader of the heist was Adalberto Perez
Perez used a GPS tracking device under the TransValue trailer in order to track its location and he also rigged a pepper-spray device inside the cab.

The truck's cab suddenly filled with pepper spray, launched by a remote control, forcing the drivers to pull over. The two security guards working for TransValue Inc of Miami were approached by three armed men who were driving a white van behind them. The men claimed they were police officers and then tied them up.

Then they put out orange traffic cones to make the stopped truck appear innocuous, and wore reflective clothing to appear as though they belonged on the roadside. The thieves then cut off trailer's locks, quickly unloaded 275 pounds of gold and about 40 silver coins into the van, and sped off, leaving numerous drums of silver behind.

Perez sold all of the gold he kept from the robbery, and used the money to buy three homes, three Nissan vehicles and a boat. He also had some gold fashioned into jewelry, some of it featuring religious icons, according to the FBI. After the informant came forward, investigators were able to use cellphone tower records to show that a phone linked to Perez traveled north through Florida along the same I-95 route as the truck that day.

Perez remained in jail without bail on federal robbery and firearms charges. The FBI said additional suspects are being sought, and a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction still stands. The FBI distributed sketches of two other robbers based on information from witnesses. Only a single gold bar was ever recovered, but prosecutors will seek to seize property and assets of those involved.