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Suspect in $1.6 million New York gold theft captured in Ecuador: police

(Reuters) - A man wanted for swiping a bucket filled with $1.6 million worth of gold flakes from an armored truck in New York four months ago has been arrested in western Ecuador, police said.

Julio Nivelo, who is from Ecuador, is accused of stealing the five-gallon (19-liter) aluminum pail with about 85 pounds of gold inside in Midtown Manhattan on Sept. 29.

He was taken into custody north of Guayaquil on Wednesday, Ecuador's Interior Ministry said in a statement.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement helped apprehend Nivelo, New York Police Department said on Twitter on Thursday.

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New York police said in December they believed Nivelo, 53, had fled to Los Angeles. Nivelo was likely a "professional thief" who planned the burglary, police detective Martin Pastor told the New York Daily News newspaper at the time.

In video surveillance footage released by police, the suspect can be seen lingering near the truck, owned by cash management firm Loomis, and waiting until its security guards were momentarily distracted before grabbing the treasure.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; editing by Richard Lough)