Can you guys believe the guy who stole that bucket of gold is still on the loose? I can’t. I really can’t. It’s crazy when you think about it, which I have, a lot, every day since I found about it. He really just grabbed a 90-pound bucket of gold out of the back of an open armored truck and waddled off with it. In broad daylight. In Manhattan. For blocks! The New York Times traced his route after the story broke.
The suspect continued east, crossing the wide Fifth Avenue near its tourist heart, with Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in sight. He passed the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel and its doormen opening cab doors for guests. (“Not here he didn’t,” a doorman said on Thursday, as if a man with a bucket would not have been allowed to pass on his watch.)
The suspect turned north on Third Avenue for one block, then east on 49th Street, outside the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse. A white van picked him up, Detective Pastor said.
This will never not amaze me. Just the sheer bravado of it is startling. And it’s probably why it worked, to be honest. A guy waddling around with a bucket in the middle of the night looks suspicious. Nothing good can be happening there. You’d probably see that and assume the bucket was full of chemical waste. Or human remains. Or, like, ooze. Evil, demon ooze. The glowing kind that bubbles even at room temperature. Either pink or green, and neon as a glow stick. You know what I’m talking about.
But a guy lugging a bucket around in the middle of the day? Well, that’s just a good ol’ blue collar worker puttin’ in the ol’ 9 to 5. Joey Lunchpail breakin’ his back to help his small family business survive. Why, that bucket is probably full of dirt. Good dirt. American dirt. The same dirt our Founding Fathers fought for way back when. The kind of dirt you build things on. Skyscrapers, monuments, Applebee’s franchises. Dirt that is definitely not actually $1.6 million worth of melted gold that was stolen out of an open truck. No, sir, definitely not that. Quick, someone hold that door for him. Yes, you. It’s the least you can do. The man is carrying a dream.
You know the scene in a movie where one character throws out a comically stupid idea and another one looks at him and says “That’s crazy… … … Just crazy enough to work.” This is exactly that, but real. And yes, it was a plan. As much as I wanted this all to be the work of one guy who was out on his lunch break, saw an unattended bucket of gold, and said “Screw it, I’m doing it” in that very moment, police think it was the work of a guy who had been casing the area for weeks. He even had at least one accomplice, based on that line about the white van. I was so let down when I read that.
But then I had a realization: this guy had been planning a heist for weeks and the best idea he came up with in that time was “Wait until no one is looking then grab a bucket out of the armored car and carry it way the heck through Midtown by myself.” Aaaaand I’m back. You rascal. I can’t stay mad at you.
The story gets even crazier, too. Listen to this: He’s been on the run for two months. Two months! I saw the security videos pop up in my feed last week and I originally assumed it was a crime that just took place. Nope. The police released the video of him just now because it’s been this long and he’s still on the loose. The best lead they have so far is that he’s in Orlando, which is almost definitely based on real evidence but which I have chosen to believe is just an assumption they made because Florida seems like exactly where a guy who just stole a bucket of gold would flee to. There are probably — and this is a conservative estimate — 12 guys in Florida right now who have buckets full of illicit gold in their possession. At least three of them are named Trevor. I’m as sure of this as I am that the sky is blue.
What do you think he’s doing right now? I’m sure the real answer is something like “Hiding out and keeping a low profile while he tries to sell off small amounts of the gold over an extended period of time so as not to raise suspicion,” but a big part of me hopes he’s gone totally gold crazy. Like I’m picturing him with a solid gold top hat, for some reason, even though that would be six or seven different kinds of impractical. Or ordering a drink at Starbucks and then pulling out a tiny digital scale and the up-to-the-minute price of gold before shaving off the correct amount to cover the purchase price. Or just staring at it and laughing like a supervillain. I hope he’s enjoying it. That’s my point.
Yes, I know, I know. I’m glorifying this. I shouldn’t do that. The same thing that makes this so fun — the unknown of it all — also could make it decidedly less so. The police could find this guy tomorrow and reveal that he’s got a rap sheet full of horrible crimes, or that he works with a crew that is responsible for violence all over the world. This whole thing could hang a sharp left onto Oh Crap Boulevard at any moment. It’s just… man, this has been a rough year, you know? The election was nasty, and Prince and Muhammad Ali both died, and dammit I could really use a nice gold bucket heist. One in which no one gets hurt and no one is secretly a murderer and the gold is insured by a company that pays out quickly and employs an investigator who is very attractive and stylish and also Rene Russo from The Thomas Crown Affair. That’s all. A nice, mostly victimless unsolved gold bucket heist that is being investigated by Rene Russo.
Just let me have this one, okay guys? At least for a few more weeks. I really don’t ask for much.