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Robbers take $1.6 million in World Trade Center heist

Surveillance tape
Police say that three men believed to be responsible for the robbery were seen on surveillance tape
January 13, 1998
Web posted at: 11:25 p.m. EST (0425 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Three masked men interrupted a currency delivery to a bank in the World Trade Center Tuesday, handcuffed the guards and escaped with three bags of cash containing $1.6 million in international currency.

The suspects cornered the two Brinks armored car guards at 8:30 a.m. outside the offices of Bank of America on the 11th floor of One World Trade Center, said Allen Morrison, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the building.

A law enforcement source said the guards arrived by freight elevator to deliver $4 million to the bank and were met by three masked bandits, one holding a handgun, another carrying a money bag with a blue "B" on it.

Sources say the robbers bound the Brinks delivery and five other people on the elevator with handcuffs and cables and sent the elevator to the 22nd floor.

They then took three of the seven bags the guards were hauling by dolly, took off their masks and rode another elevator going down.

Security in area had been heightened

The suspects' familiarity with the drop-off procedures and their ability to pass through security checkpoints indicated that the heist was "very possibly" an inside job, said Frank Fox of the Port Authority.

FBI agents checked the building's security cameras and found several pictures of the men -- without masks -- believed to be responsible for the robbery.

Security for the World Trade Center buildings as well as other major financial landmarks in that part of lower Manhattan was heightened after the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center that killed six and wounded 1,000.

Security was heightened again last week after one of those implicated in the bombing, Ramzi Yousef, was sentenced to life in prison.

New York Police Commissioner Howard Safir said Brinks is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the suspects' arrest and conviction.


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