By Michelle Graff
Marion Township, Minn.--Investigators believe that thieves followed a van from a trade show in Chicago to a rest stop near Rochester, Minn. before allegedly carrying out a $500,000 heist in a matter of minutes.

The robbery took place early Monday at a rest stop on Interstate 90, according to local news reports. A diamond dealer and six employees were traveling in a van when they pulled into the rest stop not long after midnight. 

While the dealer and four others got out to use the restroom, the two remaining stayed inside the vehicle with the jewels.

Capt. Scott Behrns of the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office told the Star Tribune that they believe at this point, four males pulled up in a van behind them, smashed the windows, and grabbed three or four suitcases with gold and silver jewelry and loose diamonds. 

The driver of the victim’s van reportedly put it in reverse then, hitting the perpetrators’ van before the suspects could flee down I-90.

“They were waiting for a dark, remote location, and they found one at the rest stop,” Behrns told the newspaper. “We’re dealing with some heavy-hitters. In less than 90 seconds, this crime was committed and done, which indicates a high level of expertise, in my opinion.”

Authorities found the getaway van in a ditch about a mile away from the scene, but the suspects were nowhere to be found. They think a second vehicle was following behind and picked up the suspects soon after the crime was committed.

The value of the stolen goods is estimated at $500,000.

The FBI will join the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office in investigating the robbery. 

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