Motorists found Wilson gold heist guards in handcuffs along I-95

Two motorists on Interstate 95 near Wilson phoned 911 early Sunday evening to report two uniformed men with their hands tied behind their backs walking in the rain, trying to flag someone down.

What they didn’t know at first is that the men were trying to report that they had just been robbed at gunpoint of more than $4 million in gold.

“There’s some gentlemen, at a truck, with handcuffs at (mile marker) 114, walking in the middle of the highway on I-95,” a woman caller told an emergency dispatcher. “It’s dark. It’s wet, and I didn’t know what else to do except keep driving.”

Recordings of the 911 calls made public Tuesday by the Wilson County Emergency Communications Center indicated what happened in the aftermath of a reported robbery that has garnered national headlines.

The two men told the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office that they worked for TransValue Inc. in Miami and were transporting a shipment of silver and gold from Miami to Massachusetts when their tractor-trailer truck began having mechanical problems.

The truck had stalled on northbround I-95, two miles south of the N.C. 42 exit, when three gunmen approached, ordered them to get down on the ground and tied their wrists with zip-ties, according to the sheriff’s office. The gunmen then marched them into a nearby stand of woods, returned to the truck and transferred several barrels filled with gold into a white minivan and drove off.

They have not been seen since.

It’s not clear how long the guards stayed in the woods before returning to the interstate to seek help. It was just after 6:45 p.m. when a motorist driving a Toyota Corolla spotted the bound guards in the road, stopped to talk to them and called 911.

“I’m at I-95, mile marker 114,” the man told the dispatcher. “There’s a couple of guys here that look like they got their hands tied behind their back. They look like they’re wearing guard uniforms walking in the road trying to call the police.”

The unidentified 911 caller said one of the guards told him that they were hauling “high value stuff, gold, silver and diamonds, and these guys came by and robbed them.”

One of the guards told the 911 caller that they had two weapons that were of no consequence during the gold heist. The guards were unable to provide a physical description of them, according to the 911 recordings.

“We are in the process of conducting interviews and following up on information we have received,”

Wanda Samuel, chief of staff with the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday that no arrests had been made and that the investigation was continuing.

McDonald: 919-829-4533