He walked about a half-mile carrying a stolen bucket containing 86 pounds of gold flakes. Now, the police in New York City believe, he has traveled much farther to avoid arrest.
On Tuesday, the police identified the man who grabbed the pail from the back of an armored truck in Midtown Manhattan on Sept. 29 as Julio Nivelo. He is now believed to be in Los Angeles.
The flakes, which were valued at $1.6 million, are shed as jewelers and others work with gold. The scraps are weighed with precision and stored in buckets.
Nivelo, 53, who is also known as David Vargas and by other aliases, was seen on surveillance video carrying the bucket, which was more than half his weight, and then taking off in a half-run, half-waddle, police said. The theft took place on West 48th Street between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas.
Nivelo, a native of Ecuador, fled to Orlando, Florida, before heading to California, WNBC reported Tuesday night. Nivelo, who was living in West New York, New Jersey, at the time of the theft, had previously been arrested seven times and deported four times, the station reported.
The police released several photos of Nivelo.
As if to emphasize the connection to the stolen bucket of gold, one photo showed him in Washington Square Park with a rainbow in the background.