Wednesday is the anniversary of the biggest robbery in Vermont history when a the daring armed bandit made off with nearly two million dollars, and five years later, he and the money remain unaccounted for.
"I returned the call to the office and they told me of the robbery. So I headed there," says Sgt. Kevin Stevens of the Rutland Police Department.
Sgt. Stevens says he'll never forget the armored car heist at the Howe Center five years ago.
"It was a shock. It was really a surprise to this area," said Stevens.
The robbery happened shortly before six am at the former Berkshire Armored car facility.
One Berkshire employee was inside the building. A second showed up here at the door carrying some coffee, was buzzed in, and that's when the robber appeared from somewhere packing a gun.
Authorities say the gunmen handcuffed the two employees, forced them to open the vault, backed an old dark van up to the partially opened door, and drove away with nearly two million in cash. It was the largest heist in Vermont history.
The money and robber disappeared without a trace.
"You know five years later you're still, you may get an anonymous tip here and there. Somebody's not working. Somebody purchased a new car or a new home. You know we've heard it all," said Sgt. Stevens.
"And I can tell you that two-million dollars is an exceptional amount of money to be taken from a bank or an armored car company," said FBI Special Agent Paul Holstein. He is assigned to the district headquarters in Albany, New York, which is in charge of the Rutland investigation.
"We've had somewhere around 150 interviews over the course of this investigation. And we've had leads covered as recently as about a week ago," said Holstein.
"They immediately immobilized them by tying them up removing their guns making some horrible threats," said Gerry Reder, who was the owner of Berkshire Armored Car when we interviewed him four years ago our years ago on the first anniversary of the hold-up. A that time he was certain the case would soon be solved.
"I'm not gonna reveal anything to you, but, a year from now if you show up, and ask me, I'll share a glass of champagne with you," said Reder.
But Gerry's champagne remains corked because the police have not popped the robber. Reder was forced to sell the business a year after the heist because his insurance premiums skyrocketed.
"This was the front door and there was sort of an enclosure here with a couple of walls," explained John Gear who now runs an auto repair shop where the record heist happened. He says strangers sometimes show up seeking a tour of the facility that still contains some of the old Berkshire security devices.
"A large vault was here in the corner where the tire machine is and was opened during the great unsolved heist," says Gear.
He says for some people the hold-up has become a legend of Hollywood proportion.
"There's an exciting aspect to it because no one was really hurt. You know someone somewhere has one of those little umbrella drinks perhaps in the Caribbean on a yacht you know," he said.
But police officer Kevin Stevens is confident the crook will be caught.
"I mean whether it'll be in our lifetime or not, hopefully we'll get it solved soon," said Stevens.
The FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
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