PARIS (AP) — French police say they are hunting for four men suspected of stealing gold dust worth an estimated 1.5 million euros from an armored truck Monday before setting cars ablaze near a major highway and fleeing.
The suspects, operating in multiple cars, surrounded the armored truck and forced it off the A6 highway between Paris and Lyon, a national gendarme service spokesman and a judicial official said.
They then seized the gold, locked the two delivery men in the back of the truck, and set one of their own cars on fire before fleeing, according to the spokesman.
He said the flames spread to three cars nearby and were threatening to engulf the armored truck as well, but local police intervened thanks to a tipoff from a witness and rescued the two men in time. The other cars were unoccupied, the judicial official said.
Most Read Nation & World Stories
- Speaker McCarthy ousted in historic House vote, as scramble begins for a Republican leader
- She got chemo in WA and Alaska — and the price difference was a whopper
- Here's where all the cases against Trump stand as he campaigns for a return to the White House
- 28 years ago, a book club began reading a novel. It's finally reached the end
- Sports on TV & radio: Local listings for Seattle games and events
Police vehicles and a helicopter searched the surrounding fields and forests Monday near the town of southeastern town of Dardilly, the spokesman said. The spokesman and judicial official spoke on condition of anonymity to be able to give details about an ongoing investigation.
Scientific police studied the charred hulls of the cars and the empty truck, operated by security company Loomis.
While France occasionally sees big jewel thefts and has seen a couple of high-profile highway heists, it’s rare to see a large-scale gold robbery like this, gendarmes said.
The judicial official said about 70 kilograms of gold dust were stolen worth an estimated 1.5 million euros ($1.6 million). He said it appeared to be an organized crime gang, but said the identities of the attackers are unclear. He would not release details about who owned the gold dust or where it had been headed.