WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) – Thieves stole $4.8 million in gold bars from an armored car on I-95 near Wilson Sunday in a brazen robbery that ranks as one of the richest in North Carolina history.
The armored vehicle was going from Miami to Massachusetts. But around 6:50 p.m. Sunday, Wilson County deputies responded to a report of an armed robbery on northbound I-95 near mile marker 114.
Authorities said two armed TransValue Inc. security guards were transporting gold and silver to Attleboro, Massachusetts, which is a major hub of jewelry outlets.
But the armored car began to have mechanical problems. When the guards pulled over, they were approached by three armed men in a white-colored van. The robbers ordered the victims to the ground, tied their hands behind their back and made them walk into the woods, authorities said.
Authorities said the robbers took the gold and some silver and fled the scene.
On Monday, deputies searched the woods beside I-95 for clues that could help.
TransValue, on its website, says it has 14 armored yellow trucks that is uses to transport valuables.
The truck left Miami around 4 a.m. Sunday.
The armed robbery remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office at 252-237-2118. A reward of $50,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
The largest theft in North Carolina history came in 1997, when $17 million in cash was stolen from the Loomis Fargo vault in Charlotte. David Scott Ghantt, 28, was later arrested in Mexico, and others were convicted of being involved in the theft.
But gold robberies of this magnitude are rare. The largest gold robbery in Florida, for example, was the $2.8 million stolen in 2012.
In 1997, the Dunbar Armored truck depot was robbed of $18.9 million. Two men were later convicted.