Gunmen in two vehicles blocked a Brink's armored car in the Walden Galleria mall parking lot in Cheektowaga this morning and robbed it of an undetermined amount of money.
While authorities did not say how much was taken, the amount was believed to be in the thousands of dollars. The money was being delivered to the Key Bank branch just inside the entrance of the mall where the armored car was parked.
No shots were fired, and no one was injured in the robbery, according to police.
The heist occurred at 10:04 a.m., as two Brink's guards pulled up to the mall entrance near Ruby Tuesday's restaurant.
A white van reported stolen from Amherst blocked the path of the armored vehicle, while a large sedan -- also reported stolen -- nudged the vehicle from behind.
"The bank guards came out of the truck at this time," Cheektowaga Lt. James Morath said. "They were just exiting to make the delivery."
Before the guards could react, at least three men from the sedan and the van driver -- all wearing ski masks -- threatened the two guards, a man and a woman, with guns.
Following the quick robbery, the gunmen drove off in the sedan.
"It appeared to be very well planned," Morath said of the robbery.
According to police, a mall security guard in a pickup truck followed the sedan until it reached the eastbound Thruway.
The owner of the sedan, a retired heavy equipment operator from Williamsville, told The Buffalo News this afternoon that his 1982 Chevrolet Caprice was stolen from Transit Bowling Lanes in Williamsville Friday. The owner described his four-door car as brown-colored with a bronze top. The license-plate number is EGX-571.
Witnesses and police said the robbers were armed with a semiautomatic pistol and at least one machine gun. They also reportedly took a gun from the male guard.
Several witnesses from the mall security force and Ruby Tuesday's were taken to Cheektowaga Police Headquarters to give statements. FBI agents
also were interviewing people inside the Key Bank branch, which is across from Ruby Tuesday's.
Cheektowaga police said today's robbery was the first involving a local armored truck in recent memory.
On June 26, an armored truck was robbed of $10.8 million in a Rochester suburb, the largest amount taken from an armored vehicle in U.S. history.
According to FBI records in Washington, the largest robbery from an armored car service was in 1982, when $11 million was taken from a Sentry Armored Car Courier Co. office in the Bronx. In April 1985, nearly $8 million was stolen from a Wells Fargo depot in Manhattan.
The Rochester-area heist was from an Armored Motor Service of America truck that was headed to the Buffalo branch of the Federal Reserve Bank when it was held up at about 7:20 a.m.
The truck, with a driver and guard, left the company offices in the Rochester suburb of Chili and occurred when a guard left the truck to buy coffee and sandwiches.
While the guard was in the store, a gunman stuck a shotgun in the slot of the armored car and managed to get control of the vehicle.