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NYPD identifies man seen in video stealing gold flakes

Julio Nivelo, 53, has been identified as the

Julio Nivelo, 53, has been identified as the suspect in the September theft of a bucket of gold flakes worth $1.6 million, the NYPD said on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. Nivelo, seen in photos released by police, is believed to be in California; he is 5-foot-5 and also goes by the names David Vargas and Luis Toledo.  Credit: NYPD

The man who in September lifted a 5-gallon bucket of gold flakes worth $1.6 million from the back of an armored truck is a career thief hiding out in Los Angeles, the NYPD said.

Police on Tuesday identified the suspect as Julio Nivelo, 53, and released photographs of the 5-foot-5 man also known as David Vargas.

Nivelo lived in New Jersey, has been arrested seven times and has been deported to his native Ecuador four times, police told The Associated Press.

Nivelo also is known to the NYPD as Luis Toledo and several other aliases.

Detectives say Nivelo fled to Orlando, Florida, after the theft before ultimately landing in California. Police believe he’s hiding out in the Los Angeles area with the stolen gold.

Police said Nivelo was walking on West 48th Street in midtown about 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 29 when he spotted the 5-gallon aluminum bucket in the back of a truck parked between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

Police, who also released video of the suspect taking the bucket and then walking with it, said the thief made his move when the guard briefly went back to the truck cab to get his cellphone.

Because of the weight of the bucket, it took the suspect an hour to make what is normally a 10-minute walk as he fled east on 48th Street, according to The Associated Press.

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