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Thieves in $1-million heist circumvented video surveillance system

July 9, 2011 |  9:22 am


The robbers who broke through the roof and stole perhaps more than $1 million from an armored car business in South El Monte managed to avoid being videotaped during the heist, law enforcement sources say.

Lt. Kent Wegener of the County Sheriff's Major Crimes Bureau said the company had security cameras inside. But sources familiar with the investigation said the robbers may have accessed the equipment and removed any record of their presence.

"At this point, we don't have any description," Wegener said.

Officials are still trying to tabulate the losses and determine exactly how much cash -- likely small bills destine for ATMS, was taken.

About 7:30 p.m. Thursday, three robbers peeled back the roof of the Commonwealth International building in the 12300 block of Barringer Street. The company, owned and operated by current and former law enforcement officers, handles cash for hundreds of automated teller machines across the L.A. region.

Wegener said they dropped down a rope and wove their way through a complex of vaults and safe rooms inside the building. They first jumped a manager, blindfolding him and binding his hands, Wegener said. They forced the manager to summon two other employees, who were also blindfolded and bound. The robbers took about 20 minutes dragging cash from the main vault out a side exit to a car, Wegener said.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: An armed guard watches as sacks containing valuables are moved into a truck from a security facility that was robbed overnight. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times