MANHATTAN — The suspect who scampered off with $1.6 million in gold flakes from the back of an armored truck in Midtown has struck at least seven other times in the Big Apple this year, sources told DNAinfo New York.
Police officials say Julio Nivelo, an ex-con deported four times to his native Ecuador, started his recent Big Apple spree of snatching items from the back of unattended trucks on May 6 on the Upper East Side, where he ran off with four boxes containing a variety of items at 2:15 p.m. at Park Avenue and East 62nd Street.
Three days later, police say he struck again outside 699 Madison Ave., grabbing a box of Jimmy Choo shoes, which he dropped when the driver suddenly yelled at him to stop.
On May 18, he returned to the the Upper East Side, grabbing seven boxes from the back of a truck at 2 p.m. in front of 239 E. 60th St. A week later, he stole a box of jewelry from a courier truck parked in front of 667 Madison Ave. at 2:35 p.m.
Nivelo allegedly stole 14 boxes from a FedEx truck in front of 420 E. 72nd St. at 1:30 p.m. on July 22; ripped off “professional camera equipment” from a car parked in front of 10 West 66th St., and grabbed boxes of clothing and eyewear from a FedEx Truck on Aug. 10 that was parked at East 78th Street and Madison Avenue.
He then hit the jackpot on Sept. 29, when he grabbed an 86-pound bucket of gold flakes from a Loomis Armored Car on W. 58 Street near Sixth Avenue in Midtown, and then was videotaped lugging his haul across town.
“These are only the cases we know of,” a law enforcement source said of Nivelo, who has made a living over the last two decades stealing from trucks when he was not in prison or deported home. “Who knows how many are out there we don’t know about.”
Investigators believe Nivelo initially fled to Miami, and then likely paid someone to drive him across the country to Los Angeles.
“We believe him to be in Southern California right now,” NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told the press on Wednesday. “He is a career criminal who seems to feed off trucks and vans in the Midtown area.”
Investigators speculate that he may know black marketers who buy his stolen wares, and they are trying to determine if he has been off-loading his gold dust bonanza as he traveled south and then to the West Coast.
Nivelo has been deported back to Ecuador four times for similar crimes in 1994, 2001, 2005 and 2008, sources said. Investigators are not certain how, or when, he returned to begin his latest crime spree.