By Alex Ginsberg
An unattended armored car was stolen from the parking lot of a Bellerose 7-Eleven Sunday night by a thief or thieves who later jettisoned the vehicle and made off with $780,000, police said.
Two couriers who worked for Iron Eagle Armed Courier, of 32-18 201 St. in Bayside, told police that they left their armored car idling but locked at about 8 p.m. in the convenience store's parking lot at Hillside Avenue and 254th Street. When they came out of the store only minutes later, the vehicle was gone, according to police. No injuries were reported.
Cops later found the armored car only a few blocks away at 83rd Avenue and 256th Street in Floral Park. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown joined detectives at the site following the vehicle's discovery.
It was not immediately clear how the thief was able to gain entry to the locked vehicle. Police said $780,000 was missing but would not comment on whether this was the full contents of the van or whether the stolen loot was in the form of cash or other valuables.
Telephone inquiries to Iron Eagle Armed Courier were not returned.
Pete Dwyer, a community affairs officer for the 105th Precinct, said detectives had no description of the thief and did not know if there was more than one person involved. But they were optimistic that witnesses at the 7-Eleven might come forward with information on the case.
“It was a well-lit area and well traveled,” said Dwyer. “There's usually a lot of people there.”
Exactly five weeks earlier, on Feb. 23, another armored car was hijacked at gunpoint from the air cargo area at JFK airport. The thief in that incident abandoned the vehicle in South Jamaica and took about $2.1 million – all he could carry, according to police – before making his escape in a getaway car. No arrests have been made in that case.
According to Police Department statistics, there have been 85 grand larcenies so far this year in the 105th Precinct, which covers a strip of eastern Queens that stretches from Glen Oaks down through Laurelton. That number is up 21 percent from the same period last year, when 70 were recorded. Grand larcenies are down, however, since 1993, when a total of 593 were recorded for the calendar year.
Reach reporter Alex Ginsberg by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.