— -- Police suspect that the alleged armed robbery of a truck transporting bars of gold in North Carolina was an inside job as more details about the highway heist have emerged, according to search warrant application that was obtained by ABC News.
Three suspects allegedly stole $4.8 million-worth of gold after one of the two armed guards -- the driver and another man, both inside the truck's cabin -- said that he felt sick and prompted the driver to pull over, Wilson County Sheriff Calvin Woodard Jr. told reporters today.
That account is different from what was presented in the first police report on the case, which said that a mechanical issue caused the truck's driver to pull over.
“There is suspicion at this time that this could be an inside job due to the circumstances of the robbery," a Wilson County Sheriff’s Office detective wrote in a search warrant application to get access to one of the guards' cell phones, one of two search warrants in the case obtained today.
"The fact that the truck was robbed immediately upon it pulling over at an unannounced stop is suspicious in and of itself," the document added. "It is also suspicious because there are no markings on the side of the truck that would indicate the type of cargo contained therein. The suspects also went directly to the trailer and found the gold which was in unmarked five gallon buckets. It is not believed that this is a random act due to the nature and facts of this robbery."
The second search warrant application was to get access to the truck and the trailer it was pulling.
Woodard told reporters today that the case was "suspicious," but declined to reiterate the theory expressed in the search warrant that the robbery could have been an inside job.
Woodard shared sketches of the three suspects who allegedly bound the hands of the driver and the passenger, and a photo of a traffic cone that was placed behind the truck as the suspects allegedly removed the gold from the vehicle after breaking a lock on the back. The traffic cone had the marking of a company that only does work in Florida.
The truck was bringing gold and silver to Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and being driven on I-95 by armed guards employed by a Miami-based company, TransValue Inc., Woodard said.
One of the search warrants states that approximately $5 million-worth of silver was left in the truck, meaning that when the truck left Miami on Sunday morning, it had close to $10 million in metals inside the back compartment, which, the sheriff said, was protected solely by a Master lock on the door.
"The suspects attempted to steal the truck and trailer but could not get the truck started," according to one of the search warrants. "The truck was in proper working condition so the suspects had to [have] not been experienced in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle. The suspects loaded the gold in the minivan and fled the scene."
The metal was owned by Republic Metals Corporation in Opalocka, Florida, according to a search warrant. The company did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.
The police said they were seeking a search warrant for the phones of the armed guard who felt sick because of the suspicious nature of the case, but Woodard said at today's news conference that the driver and the passenger have not been considered suspects. Both men have been interviewed separately several times by police, Woodard added.
Woodard noted that the driver and the passenger apparently violated their company’s policies by exiting the vehicle without their firearms and leaving the firearms inside the truck.