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Burglars steal $30 million in cash from Los Angeles money storage facility

Sources familiar with the investigation said a burglary crew broke through the roof of the facility to gain access to the vault, but it is unclear how they avoided the alarm system.


Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on First Street in downtown Los Angeles. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Mel Melcon/TNS

By Richard Winton
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — In one of the largest cash heists in Los Angeles history, thieves made off with as much as $30 million in an Easter Sunday burglary at a San Fernando Valley money storage facility, an L.A. police official revealed Wednesday.

The burglary occurred Sunday night at an unnamed facility in Sylmar where cash from businesses across the region is handled and stored, according to L.A. Police Department Cmdr. Elaine Morales.

The burglars were able to breach the building as well as the safe where the money was stored, Morales said. Law enforcement sources said the break-in was among the largest burglaries in city history when it comes to cash, and the total surpassed any armored-car heist in the city as well.

Mystery surrounds the break-in.

Sources familiar with the investigation said a burglary crew broke through the roof of the facility to gain access to the vault. But it is unclear how they avoided the alarm system.

In addition, viewing the safe from the outside, it showed no signs of a break-in. The operators of the business, whom police did not identify, did not discover the massive theft until they opened the vault on Monday.

Authorities were alerted, and detectives from the LAPD’s Mission Division station responded to the crime scene to gather evidence.

Further adding to the intrigue is that very few individuals would have known of the huge sums of cash that were being kept within that safe, according to the law enforcement sources.

The break-in was described as elaborate and suggested an experienced crew of burglars who knew how to gain entry to a secure facility unnoticed.

The largest prior cash heist in Los Angeles was on Sept. 12, 1997, with the robbery of $18.9 million from the former site of the Dunbar Armored facility on Mateo Street. Those behind the theft were eventually caught.

Sunday’s incident also comes nearly two years after a multimillion-dollar theft of jewelry from a Brink’s big rig at a Grapevine truck stop.

As much as $100 million in jewels and valuables was taken from the truck.

In that case, thieves made off with the goods at 3 a.m. on July 11, 2022, stuffing more than 20 large bags with jewelry, gems and other items that the Brink’s tractor-trailer had been transporting from the International Gem and Jewelry Show in San Mateo to the L.A. area.

The heist occurred during a 27-minute window in which one driver slumbered in the vehicle’s sleeper berth and another ate a meal at the Flying J, a sprawling truck stop just off Interstate 5’s sinuous Grapevine in Lebec, Calif.

That crime remains unsolved.

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