Home / Top Story / Thief steals $1.5M worth of gold in Manhattan after guard’s slip

Thief steals $1.5M worth of gold in Manhattan after guard’s slip

Joseph Monel was one of two guards who was tasked with keeping an eye on a 5-gallon bucket of gold.

Joseph Monel was one of two guards who was tasked with keeping an eye on a 5-gallon bucket of gold.

(Kendall Rodriguez/for New York Daily News)

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Sunday, October 2, 2016, 12:50 PM

A man tasked with guarding a 5-gallon bucket of gold worth $ 1.5 million didn’t exactly have the Midas touch — and now a mistake that led to the theft of the precious metal could cost him his job.

Joseph Morel, who works for the armored car service Loomis International, was one of two guards protecting the 86 pounds of gold in the Diamond District on Thursday afternoon.

The 54-year-old dad was using the bucket as a footstool. At one point, he went to rest his feet and that’s when he noticed the gold was missing from the back of the truck. Monel fears there’s no pot of gold — just a pink slip at the end of his rainbow.

“I cried because I’m afraid to lose my job,” the Haitian immigrant told the Daily News Saturday from his home in Queens. “I got my mortgage to pay, my wife, my son, my car insurance. Yeah. I’m scared. But if it’s coming, what I can do? I made a mistake.”

Thief steals barrel of gold flakes from armored truck in NYC

Police said the heavy metal heist happened on W. 48th St. near Fifth Ave. Morel was in the back of the truck almost the entire time during their deliveries, but went to the front a few times to shut the engine off because the idling vehicle was belching too much exhaust. The doors were open when he turned the vehicle off, he said.

The truck’s surveillance cameras caught a suspect lifting a container off of the truck.

A diagram the Joseph Monel drew explaining how the heist went down.

A diagram the Joseph Monel drew explaining how the heist went down.

(Kendall Rodriguez/for New York Daily News)

The thief, described as a Hispanic man wearing a black vest over a green shirt, and carrying a black messenger bag, remained on the loose Saturday, cops said. It wasn’t immediately clear if the thief had help.

“Who could have taken it?” Morel asked. “That’s the mystery.”

The two guards had just made a pickup when the larcenous Leprechaun stole the bucket of gold. The flakes were part of a larger shipment headed to a Canadian refinery, officials said.

Morel said the doors to the back of the truck were left open during five deliveries and pickups on Thursday. Only his partner, who had the key, could close the door, he said.

“Only one mistake I made,” Morel said. “I’m supposed to tell my partner, ‘Hey buddy, you have to close the door.’”

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