Takeover robbery reported in South El Monte; more than $1 million believed stolen

SOUTH EL MONTE — The Major Crime Bureau of the sheriff’s department has taken over the investigation into a takeover robbery of more than $1 million at a business late Thursday.
The robbery took place about 7:30 p.m. at Commonwealth International Inc., 12356 Barringer St., sheriff’s Sgt. Harry Drucker said in a written statement.
Three robbers forced their way through the ceiling of the business — a company that stores cash to be distributed to ATMs throughout the region — and slid down a rope, Lt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau said.
“They came on these victims in kind of a blitz fashion, so that they never got a good look at them,” Wegener said.
The robbers immediately blindfolded the employees, all men, and helped themselves to cash, primarily from the business’ vault, officials said.
“They stole an undetermined amount of money which is probably in excess of $1 million,” Wegener said. Because of the high dollar-value of the theft, the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau was assigned to handle the investigation.
Someone managed to call the sheriff’s Temple Station about 8:43 from inside the business to report being tied up and robbed, Sgt. Steve Ruiz said.
Investigators described the robbers only as men, and because the victims were blindfolded, it was not clear if they had any weapons.
Once the theft was complete, the robbers left the bound employees tied up inside the business, officials said. None were injured.
Forensic experts were called to the scene to search for pieces of evidence such as fingerprints and DNA, Wegener said.
Detectives were also in the process of re-interviewing witnesses and examining nearby surveillance cameras to see if they may yield any clues.
– Staff Writer Ruby Gonzales contributed to this story

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