It sounds like the plot of an action movie: A tractor-trailer rumbles down an interstate just after dark. On a rural stretch of the road, the driver encounters a mechanical problem. He pulls over and gets out with a co-worker in an attempt to figure out what’s wrong.
Suddenly, armed men emerge from woods at the roadside and demand the truck’s cargo – about $4 million in gold.
Those are of some of the details of a real police report about a reported armed robbery Sunday night on Interstate 95 in rural Wilson County.
The truck’s occupants – two armed guards – called 911 and reported a roadside robbery to the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office. A statement from the sheriff’s office said the men were tied up in the woods when the gunman left in a white van with the gold.
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The gold and the gunmen haven’t been seen since.
Federal law enforcement has joined the investigation to determine whether it’s a federal case.
Law authorities declined Monday to say more about the incident, including the type of weapons used or how they think the heavy gold was removed from the tractor-trailor. The report said the gold was in several barrels.
The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office got the call about 6:45 p.m. on Sunday.
The armed security guards were found off the road of the northbound lanes of I-95, two miles south of the N.C. 42 exit. They told Wilson County deputies they worked for TransValue Inc. in Miami and were transporting a shipment of silver and gold from Miami to Massachusetts when they began having mechanical problems with the truck, according to Wanda Samuel, chief of staff with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the Associated Press, Jesus Rodriguez, TransValue Inc.’s chief executive, said the truck carrying the gold bars left Miami about 4 a.m. Sunday. The load was headed to Attleboro, Mass., a town south of Boston nicknamed Jewelry City for the large number of manufacturers based there.
Rodriguez declined to comment Monday, but he told The News & Observer that his company was offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of the gunmen.
According to the company’s website, TransValue, Inc. was founded in 1992 in Miami to provide the international transportation of valuables between financial institutions. The company was successful during its early years because of its knowledge of the Latin American markets, according to the website.
The security guards told the Wilson County sheriff’s investigators that they could not provide a good description of the gunmen. .
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office with finding the robbers.
“We have been notified and are coordinating with our law enforcement partners to determine whether a federal crime has been committed,” FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said in an email to The News & Observer.
The Wilson County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with information to call 252-237-2118.