He went for the gold.
Police released several clips of surveillance video Tuesday that show a man walk down West 48th Street, spot an unattended bucket perched at the edge of the back of a truck, quickly scope the area and then make off with it.
The entire incident took place in the space of about 20 seconds on Sept. 29 between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.
The man calmly walked away with $1.6 million worth of gold flakes that weighed 86 pounds. Although the five-gallon pail was opaque black and did not show its contents, the thief might have assumed it was valuable as it was on an armored truck in the heart of Manhattan’s jewelry district, police said.
Clips then show the man, estimated to be in his 50s, carrying the bucket down the crowded Fifth Avenue sidewalk without anyone noticing. He even sets it down on the curb briefly to catch his breath before crossing the street. He allegedly then jumped into a van at 49th Street and Third Avenue, police said.
The thief and the gold remain at large.
Loomis, the armored-truck company responsible for the valuable cargo, did not return requests for comment by press time. The company is offering a $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thief, according to media reports.
Gold flakes, grain and beads are generally the product of melt of either raw gold or jewelry, intended to be sold by weight, a jeweler told Metro.
The surveillance video can be seen online at www.metro.us.