It was a pretty daring move. On July 4, a man disguised as a Loomis armored truck driver walked into a Wal-Mart in Bristow, Oklahoma, and walked out with $75,000 in deposits. There were no threats, no violence. Just a man walking into a store, signing a deposit form, and quietly walking away.
The transaction was so subdued that Wal-Mart employees did not even realize they had been duped until the real Loomis employee showed up 30 minutes later.
Of course, there were some details that might have clued them in. The man's "uniform" did not have a Loomis logo. His "bulletproof vest" did not appear to be bulletproof, but rather looked more like a weighted running vest. And most telling, he arrived and left in a black Chevy sedan--not an armored truck.
There were also some hints that maybe, just maybe, this was an inside job. The fake Loomis employee showed up very close to the time the real employee was scheduled to arrive. The man knew exactly when the money would be waiting for pickup. He went directly to where the Loomis employee was expected to pick up the cash. And he behaved in such a way that no one suspected he was not who he purported to be.
Just three days later, Bristow police arrested Wal-Mart store manager Rico Robertson, 43, and his stepdaughter, Mariah Bustamonte, 21, in connection with the heist. They are still searching for the man who actually entered the store disguised as a Loomis employee and made off with the money.
Reports say Bustamonte served as the getaway driver for the fake Loomis employee, and Robertson was working at the time of the heist. Investigators say that Robertson did not hand the money over to the fake armored truck driver, but that he played a role in facilitating the theft.
Bristow Police Detective Kevin Webster said that law enforcement was tipped off to Robertson and Bustamonte after viewing surveillance video from the store. He told reporters, "Different things led us to believe, 'Hey, this isn't right. They had to know too much to do this, to do that,' things like that."
Bristow police and OSBI agents executed a search warrant at Robertson's home in Okmulgee on Tuesday, and the man and his stepdaughter were arrested that evening. Both were booked into the Creek County Jail on complaints of grand larceny and conspiracy to commit a felony.
Bustamonte's Okmulgee court record shows only a speeding ticket--92 in a 65--on the day she was arrested. Robertson also shows a traffic ticket of 75 in a 65 the same day. However, his record also reflects a number of money judgments against him, which could be perceived as a motive for committing a theft.
They say that desperate times call for desperate measures, but embezzlement and theft are not likely to ease one's burdens in the long run. Under Oklahoma law, grand larceny is a felony that carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Conspiracy to commit a felony is a separate felony that can bring an additional 10 years in prison and another $5,000 fine.
Image Credit: Mike Kalasnik