One of up to five suspects was allegedly caught in the act of stealing nearly $2 million from an armored car company’s vault in Hicksville last week, Nassau County police said.
Edgar Medina, who authorities described as a career criminal currently on parole, was arrested in New Cassel after leading police on a chase from the scene of the heist at the Alpha Plaza office of Loomis at 10:20 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, police said.
“This was an extremely sophisticated crew of burglars,” Thomas Krumpter, the acting Nassau County police commissioner, told reporters Thursday during a news conference. “I don’t recall a burglary of this size and magnitude.”
Krumpter credited a keen-eyed police officer with spotting Medina, 53, of Hicksville, allegedly acting suspiciously outside the company’s nondescript building on a dead end abutting a freight train yard. Upon noticing the officer, Medina allegedly put something in his trunk and fled in a Volkswagen, he added. When the officer apprehended Medina, $1.8 million in money bags was found in the trunk, according to the commissioner.
Investigators released photos of tools—including a sledge hammer, vehicle jack, crowbars and a cart—they said the crew used to penetrate the hardened facility, which authorities said had $20 million in its safe at the time of the break-in.
The burglars had to break through a concrete wall to reach the safe, although Krumpter declined to go into further detail about how the crime was committed. He said the masked crew was caught on surveillance video and “did everything they could to foil the recovery of any evidence.”
Police neither have a description of the other suspects nor do they know how the burglars fled. The one suspect in custody doesn’t have any ties to the company, but when asked if Major Case Bureau detectives probing the case believe it was an inside job, Krumpter would only say that the investigation is continuing.
The commissioner suspected that the burglars intended to steal as much of the $20 million as they could. If they were successful, it would have eclipsed the infamous Lufthansa heist in which mobsters allegedly stole about $6 million in cash and jewels from a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1978, one of the biggest heists in American history. That case, which was planned in Bellmore, resulted in arrests just last year—35 years later.
“It’s clear this burglary was interrupted,” Krumpter said. “This burglary was ongoing when police interrupted the commission of this crime. I would image they were going to try and get as much of the money as they could.”
Medina was charged with burglary, grand larceny and possession of burglars tools. His bail was set at $150,000 cash or $300,000 bond. He is due back in Nassau County court on Sept. 4.
The reward for information leading to the arrest of the other suspects in this case was increased to $25,000 from the usual $5,000 that Crime Stoppers typically offers. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS (8477). All callers will remain confidential.