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updated: 7/8/2011 2:01 PM

Three workers locked in vault during high stakes theft

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Associated Press

SOUTH EL MONTE, Calif. -- Three employees were bound, blindfolded and locked in a vault during a million-dollar heist at a security transport company, authorities said.

A ladder and other evidence was found after the thieves entered the building through the roof, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Friday.

The robbery was reported late Thursday at an office belonging to Commonwealth International Inc., a security service that transports money from automated teller machines.

Authorities said late Thursday more than $1 million was taken, but Whitmore said he could only confirm that a significant amount of money was stolen and the company would have to conduct an audit to determine exactly how much.

Investigators remained on the scene Friday.

Initial reports indicated there were three suspects, but Whitmore said it was hard to know exactly how many were involved because the victims were blindfolded.

At least one bandit was armed, deputies said.

The victims appeared to be OK when they were released from the vault, Whitmore said.

No further information was released.

Whitmore could not say how the money was packaged, how it was taken from the premises, or if there was a chance it was an inside job.

A woman who answered the main phone number at Commonwealth International said there was no statement or comment available about the theft.

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