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This LA heist sounds like a thriller novel. Thieves stole $30 million in cash

Armored trucks are parked outside the GardaWorld facility in the Sylmar section of Los Angeles on Thursday, April 4, 2024.
Richard Vogel
/
AP
Armored trucks are parked outside the GardaWorld facility in the Sylmar section of Los Angeles on Thursday, April 4, 2024.

LOS ANGELES — Thieves got away with $30 million in cash from a money storage facility in Los Angeles by breaking into the building on Easter Sunday and cracking the safe. Now detectives are seeking to unravel the brazen cash heist, reportedly one of the largest on record in Los Angeles.

Police Cmdr. Elaine Morales told The Los Angeles Times, which broke the news of the crime, that the thieves were able to breach the building, as well as the safe where the money was stored. The operators of the business did not discover the massive theft until they opened the vault.

Media reports identified the facility as a location of GardaWorld, a global cash management and security company, in Sylmar. The Canada-based company, which also operates fleets of armored cars, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

LAPD Officer David Cuellar, a department spokesperson, confirmed that officers received a call for service at 4:30 a.m. Sunday at a business on the street where GardaWorld's Sylmar location is.

Several TV news crews were filming outside the facility Thursday morning in an industrial part of the San Fernando Valley neighborhood, which is about 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of downtown Los Angeles.

Aerial footage from KABC-TV showed a large cutout on the side of the building that appeared to be boarded up by a piece of plywood.

The LAPD and FBI on Thursday would only say that they were jointly investigating the theft "to determine the person or group responsible." The agencies sought tips from the public, but they did not confirm how much was stolen or give other details such as the name of the company.

The Times reported that the break-in was among the largest cash burglaries in city history and surpassed that of any armored-car heist in Los Angeles.

Nearly two years ago, as much as $100 million in jewels and other valuables were stolen from a Brink's big rig at a Southern California truck stop. The thieves haven't been caught.

Jim McGuffey, an armored car expert and security consultant, called the Sylmar theft "a shock." Any such facility should have two alarm systems and a seismic motion detector right on the safe, he said, as well as additional motion sensors throughout the building.

"For that kind of money, you don't just walk in and walk out with it," he told AP. "A facility should be protected from the top to the bottom and the sides."

GardaWorld has a good reputation in the industry, McGuffey said, but every cash management company has "isolated incidents like this that just make no sense, but it happens to the best of them."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press