A Brink's employe made off with $1.85 million in cash yesterday after taking an armored truck during a routine cash pickup at San Francisco International Airport and hijacking a car, police said.
The theft surpassed the amount taken in the famous 1950 Brinks robbery at Boston, and it appeared to be the second-largest robbery in the nation's history, after a $5 million robbery in New York in 1978.
"One of our employes seized upon an opportunity to remove a truck away from the surveillance of other crew members," said Robert Haller, vice president of operations for Brink's Inc.
A complaint filed by federal agents said $1.25 million of the missing money belonged to the First Hawaii Bank and $600,000 to the Central Pacific Bank, both of Honolulu, and that it was destined for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
The FBI said George Manuel Bosque, 25, a guard on the truck, was being sought in connection with the theft. Authorities said he acted alone.
Charges of bank robbery and theft from an interstate shipment were filed against Bosque.
Bosque had been employed by Brinks three to four years, Haller said.
Bosque "dropped his partner off to make a pickup and took the truck," said Sgt. Jeff Boyd of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department. The truck was abandoned at the nearby San Francisco Airport Hilton. Boyd said a man with a gun accosted a hotel maid, transferred two large pouches stuffed with cash to her car and fled south.