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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Inside Job? Suspicion, questions surround heist

witn.com
Article thanks to Jon Jimison and wilsontimes.com. Links provided:

Detectives suspect the $4.8 million gold heist Sunday on Interstate 95 may be an "inside job,” they said in a search warrant application.

March 4, 2015  Sheriff Calvin Woodard was reluctant to label the robbery suspicious but admitted that some of the circumstances surrounding the robbery were suspicious. He said the victims were cooperative and were free to leave Wilson County.

In a televised press conference Wednesday, Woodard did say they are still conducting their investigation, and there are certainly suspicious aspects. Woodard also publicly detailed how a mechanic couldn’t find anything wrong with the truck after the victims had reported mechanical issues. They had also reported the smell of gasoline; that couldn’t be detected either, Woodard said.

It was also revealed in the press conference that the only thing that stood between the three robbers and $4.8 million in gold was a small Master lock that anyone could buy at a Lowe’s. That information received a chuckle from the media in attendance.

"There is suspicious at this time that this could be an inside job due to the circumstances of the robbery,” Detective Josh Bissette wrote in a search warrant application. "The fact that the truck was robbed immediately upon it pulling over at an unannounced stop is suspicious in an of itself. It is also suspicious because there are no marking on the side of the truck that would indicate the type of cargo contained therein.

"The suspects also went directly to the trailer and found the gold which was in unmarked 5-gallon buckets. It is not believed that this is a random act due to the nature and facts of this robbery.”

Detectives sought the cell phones of the victims.

A description and drawings of two suspects has been released as well as a photo of a white vehicle matching the description of the one reportedly used. One suspect was described as about 40 years old, heavy set, who spoke with a Cuban accent. The second suspect was a dark-skinned Hispanic male. He had a white beard and goatee and wore a black hooded jacket and black combat boots. There was a third suspect but no description was available.

The cargo of the truck belonged to Republic Metals Corp. of Opalocka, Florida, documents reveal. The two armed security guards were employed by TransValue Inc. They told investigators when they were transporting a shipment of gold and silver from Florida to Massachusetts they began having mechanical problems with the truck and pulled over. That’s when three armed men reportedly pulled off the $4.8 million gold heist Sunday night along Interstate 95 in Wilson County.

So far, investigators haven’t found evidence of anything remotely wrong with the tractor-trailer. An inspector has checked out the truck, said Wanda Samuel, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office chief of staff. Officials didn’t have any trouble removing it from the interstate either after the incident, officials said. Woodard said the suspects placed orange safety cones behind the truck during the robbery.

TransValue has launched its own internal investigation, Woodard said. He said the company has been cooperative. He did say the employees breached protocols. The investigation of the gold heist on Interstate 95 has taken Wilson County sheriff’s investigators beyond county’s borders. In fact, it has taken them out of the state entirely, Samuel said.

Not everything in the truck was stolen, investigators added. Silver and gold were left in the truck. Woodard said they didn’t inventory how much was left. TransValue has transported the remaining contents back to Florida. This time an armored car was used. Woodard smiled when he revealed this information.

TransValue Inc. was founded in 1992 in Miami for international transport of valuables between financial institutions, according to company information. It has expanded since that time. It transports other commodities such as precious metals, stones, jewelry, credit cards, data tapes and other such valuable commodities. TransValue’s armored shipments are insured through the company’s insurance policy up to $100 million, according to the company.

No arrests have been made in the case, Samuel said.

The incident has drawn national news coverage with stories from The Washington Post, USA Today, ABC World News Tonight, The Associated Press, People magazine and most national news outlets.
TransValue has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

http://www.wilsontimes.com/News/Feature/Story/35949563---Suspicion-questions-surround-heist


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