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‘They knew what they were doing.' Heist expert weighs in on Sylmar cash theft

When millions of dollars are stolen from the place where the money is supposed to be the safest, there is no shortage of questions, even from the people working at the company guarding the cash.

“It’s just mind-blowing that you would never suspect it. How? Why, you know? It’s just I’m still trying to process it,” said an employee of GardaWorld who asked not to be identified.

On Sunday afternoon, someone tunneled their way into the GardaWorld cash storage facility in Sylmar, according to the initial report to LAPD. The FBI said the thieves made their way out with millions of dollars. The only external sign something was out of the ordinary was a section of the building boarded up.

“They knew what they were doing. They knew when to go,” said Scott Selby, an LA-based attorney and expert on heists. 

GardaWorld is a security company. Many people would be most familiar with seeing the armored trucks on the road. According to its website, services at its Sylmar location offer cash and cash vault services. Selby said cash businesses like laundry facilities, supermarkets and cannabis dispensaries rely on cash services for day-to-day operations.

“You need a way to get that cash somewhere safe. You’re not going to just want to walk down to the bank and deposit $30,000. So there are services that come and pick it up,” Selby said.

He said the GardaWorld Sylmar location may be ideal for both the business and thieves.

“Okay, so location is everything, both if you’re running a cash management company and if you’re a thief,” Selby continued. “And so this warehouse is in the San Fernando Valley and it’s about four minutes away from two different freeways. So you can hop on the five or the 204 and just be gone.”

FBI sources have told NBC News they are still trying to confirm the amount taken, but the LA Times reports it could be as much as $30 million. The employee who spoke with NBC4 said he had no idea there could potentially be that much money inside his workplace.

“I mean, I didn’t even know there was $30 million … whatever the amount is in that building,” the employee said.

Selby, who co-authored the book “Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamon Heist in History,” will be trying to find out if the company had an unusually large amount of money on hand at the time of the burglary.

“Because if that is unusual to have that much money, then the LAPD and the FBI will want to know who knew about that on the inside and then see if the thieves found out that way,” he said.

Selby also noted that because the stolen money likely comes from businesses that received it directly from different consumers, it will be difficult to trace.

“Because it’s cash from so many different sources, there’s no way to know what those serial numbers were, no way to know, to keep an eye out for where this surfaces,” says Selby.

Whether whoever is responsible is ever caught will depend on two factors in Selby’s opinion –the evidence they left behind, and:

“Whether they bring the same level of professionalism to the aftermath of the job that they did to doing the job itself,” he said. “And you’d be surprised that sometimes thieves are amazing at stealing a bunch of money, and once they get the money, they just do some really dumb things.”


Source: NBC Los Angeles

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