Police search for fugitive in Bolivian gold robbery
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (WSVN) -- A man who was released from jail and placed on house arrest for stealing nearly $3 million worth of Bolivian gold, is on the run from police.
David Bolton is a private investigator who was hired to track down the fugitive, 32-year-old Raonel Valdez. "He should be considered armed and dangerous. If anyone sees him, I would hope that they would call the police immediately," said Bolton.
Coral Gables Police said, back in October, Valdez stole $2.8 million worth of Bolivian gold. The gold is called popcorn gold. Before it's exported out of Bolivia, it is mixed with copper and dropped in water to give it its distinctive look.
Detectives said Valdez robbed a carrier who lives in an apartment building, a few blocks from Miracle Mile. Police said he helped the carrier inside the apartment and took suitcases filled with the gold.
The carrier works for a Bolivian export company. Investigators believe it took Valdez months to plan the attack. "In broad daylight," said Bolton.
Police found and arrested Valdez. Last month, a judge allowed Valdez to leave jail as long as he is tracked by a GPS ankle monitor.
Several sources told 7News, the signal to the ankle monitor has been lost. Valdes' defense attorney said he does not know where his client is, and has not spoken to him since March 18. "I have my suspicions [where he is]. I would guess here, Mexico or Cuba," Bolton said.
Valdes was born in Cuba and has a criminal history in Miami and Mexico.
Bolton was hired by the Bolivian export company. They want to find the gold and also find the thief behind the robbery.
7News spoke to the owner of the Bolivian export company via Skype. "Because this kind of person is very dangerous to the community," said business owner Guy Vargas.
After Valdes was arrested, police were never able to track down the gold.
Vargas is offering $25,000 for any information that can lead police to the capture of Valdez.
If you have any information Valdez' whereabouts, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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