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FBI Says Suspect Planned Gold Heist for a Year

March 7, 2016

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The man arrested by the FBI in last year's heist of nearly $5 million in gold from a tractor-trailer on I-95 in North Carolina allegedly spent a year planning the robbery, including planting a GPS tracker and a remote-controlled pepper spray device in the truck.

The scenario laid out by the FBI is a scheme being compared to Hollywood movies.

Adalberto Perez, 46, was arrested last week at his home in a Miami, Fla., suburb, almost a year after the robbery. A friend whose address was used for the GPS tracker shipment and who says Perez showed him some of the gold apparently went to the FBI with the information.

The routine shipment of gold bars was being transported by Miami-based Republic Metals to a processing plant in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, that serves jewelry makers in the Boston area.

Guards working for Transvalue Inc. of Miami pulled off the highway about 6:30 p.m. They told police they were surprised by three armed men driving a white van. The bandits reportedly ordered the guards to lie on the ground, tied their hands behind their backs and made them walk into the nearby woods. By the time the men were able to make it back out of the woods and flag down passing motorists, the thieves had made off 275 pounds of gold worth about $4.8 million.

As ABC News reports, Perez and accomplices who are still being sought allegedly kept track of the truck using the GPS device. Shortly after dusk they are said to have triggered a remote-controlled pepper spray device that had been rigged inside the cab, forcing the truck's guards/drivers to pull off to the side of the road. Originally it was thought that it may have been mechanical problems that caused the truck to pull over.

The FBI didn't say how Perez was able to gain access to the truck or if he had any relationship with the TransValue shipping company.

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