It may not be as real as Ballaban's Kebab-guy joining ISIS, but an armed roadside gold heist took place earlier this week in Wilson, North Carolina - which is just an hour away from my house. It is, quite literally, highway robbery.
The facts are that an unmarked commercial truck traveling from Miami to Massachusetts pulled over on the side of I-95 last Sunday after the security guards smelled the sickening stench of gasoline and stopped to investigate it after the passenger began feeling carsick. As one of the drivers stepped out for fresh air, a man shouting "Policia!" waved a gun in his face, and a second man stopped the second guard just as he was exiting the truck. The two guards were zip-tied, and the three robbers proceeded to lay out orange cones, break the lock on the back of the truck and load about $5Million dollars in 25-pound gold bars into a white van, which wasn't even the full inventory of the shipment. It's not quite Goldfinger's Operation Grand Slam plan at Fort Knox, but rather Heat in the streets of L.A.
Let's go over what exactly went wrong:
- Guards left their guns in the truck
- Truck padlock was purchased from Lowes Hardware
- Over $5Million dollars being shipped together
- No other motorists found this suspicious enough to report
Police were notified after the heist from commuters calling in reports of two zip-tied men running through traffic. Sketches were drawn up from descriptions of two of the guards, who spoke fluent Spanish and clearly had plenty of hours of Grand Theft Auto under their belt. The guards and truck belonged to a company called TransValue Inc. which is based out of Miami, Florida. Police believe the thieves may have followed the truck from it's last rest stop in South Carolina.
Further investigation found no issues with the truck that would cause any sort of smell, and can not explain how the robbers gained knowledge of the cargo. It doesn't help that they have had difficulty talking to the two "victims" due to what they are calling a "language barrier," not to mention their shady story. It is also suspicious that the two robbers knew to approach the guards speaking Spanish, though they may have just assumed the Latin-looking men spoke the language. The potential of it being an inside-job has not been ruled out, but neither has the Theory Of Stupidity either, so the two guards are not being held in custody at this time. You can read more details from the local news here.
A company called Republic Metals Corp. (who owns the cargo) and TransValue Inc. have offered a reward of $50,000 to anyone who may have helpful information in getting their dignity and $4.8 Million back. I'd say the scale of reward-to-robbery is a little lopsided, but 50k is 50k. If you have any information you can call the Wilson County Sheriff's Office @ 252-237-2118
WRAL has more coverage of the story.