Two bags of gold bars, jewelry and currency worth about $300,000 fell out the back of a white Mercedes SUV in Fountain Valley Tuesday, and the loot was quickly snatched up, authorities said.
An elderly man reported “a large amount” of valuables had vanished after they spilled onto the road at the intersection of Brookhurst Street and Slater Avenue at about 10:30 a.m., according to the Fountain Valley Police Department.
The man, a Fountain Valley resident, was transporting the items back to his business after he had taken them home, said FVPD Sergeant Matt Sheppard. The man was turning north onto Brookhurst from Slater, when the items fell out. The man kept going north, unaware his property wasn't in the car anymore.
When he reached Heil Street, "he noticed that the back hatch was open, and two (pieces) of his property were missing,” Sheppard said.
The man reportedly had a third bag with “similar items” in it, which remained inside the vehicle.
According to Sheppard, a witness caught up with the man, and said he noticed the bags in the road, and the two went back to the intersection, where they found the valuables gone.
One witness said a gold four-door passenger vehicle stopped in the road in front of the bag of property. Another witness said a blue four-door passenger vehicle stopped in the roadway next to the bag, that driver – a man in his 40s and 50s – got out, picked up the bag, got back in the vehicle and left heading north on Brookhurst.
“That’s a pretty good-sized grocery bag," Sheppard said. "You wouldn’t want to drive over that."
Taking found money is a crime, Sheppard said.
“You have to make an attempt to return or locate the rightful owner of the property,” Sheppard said.
One way to do that is to turn in the found items to the local Police Department. Sheppard said the department takes locating the owner of any found property “very seriously.”
“We can’t just take that money," Sheppard said. “We have to return it to the rightful owner.”
If someone turns in found property, and no owner can be located, the money goes to the person who found it, according to Sheppard.
Sheppard advises anyone with information on the items to call the police department to contact the FVPD at 714-593-4485.
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