Two bandits forced an Iowa casino winner off the road early Tuesday morning in Des Moines and stole over $10,000 from her, police said. Police arrested one alleged robber and continue to search for another.
One of the suspects allegedly broke her driver’s side window, opened the driver’s door, and then yanked her purse out of the car. In the pocketbook was the money she had just won while playing at Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona.
Timothy Spencer, 30, of Delaware Township, Iowa, was arrested on Wednesday. He had a handgun during the holdup, police claim. He was the one who shattered the window and stole the purse, police said.
Spencer was booked in the Polk County Jail. He is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree theft, going armed with intent, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, failure to affix a drug stamp, and possession of a controlled substance, according to online jail records.
He remained in custody as of midday Thursday. Bail was set at $60,000, according to WHO, a local TV station. He is scheduled to appear in local court on Aug. 1.
Spencer and the other suspect each allegedly forced the victim off of Easton Boulevard at about 3:15 am Tuesday. Both then left their respective cars. The second suspect banged on the passenger side window.
The victim was on her way home when the incident took place. She had won two separate jackpots at the casino. She was not injured.
It appears at least one of the suspects began following the victim while she was still at the casino, police said. He continued to tail her and he left the casino at the same time she did, 3 am.
With her description, police identified Spencer on Prairie Meadows surveillance video, police said. The footage showed him near the victim when she won the money.
Upon his arrest, police found he had $1,000 in cash and a bottle of oxycodone in his vehicle.
They also found $2,000 in cash and a silver .38 revolver at his residence, police said.
Suspect Denies Involvement
Spencer claimed the money was from $10,000 he won at Prairie Meadows several weeks ago, police said.
He denied to police he was involved in the robbery, WHO said.
In an unrelated incident, in October a 27-year-old Pennsylvania man was charged with first-degree murder, after following a victim from a casino to his home some 50 miles away.
Jekai Reid-John of Norristown allegedly tailed the man from Pennsylvania’s Parx Casino to Plainsboro, N.J. where he was shot and later died.
Just hours before the shooting, Reid-John allegedly watched Aravapalli leave the Bensalem, Pa. gaming property with the night’s winnings. Reid-John followed Aravapalli until the victim eventually stopped at his house.
Reid-John allegedly followed him and entered the residence via a sliding door. Aravapalli was downstairs when several shots were fired and he suffered “multiple gunshot wounds,” prosecutors said in a statement.
A car sped off after the gunfire, a neighbor told police. Aravapalli was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital. Soon after arriving, he was declared dead.
Aravapalli’s wife and teenage daughter were sleeping upstairs in the house when the shooting took place, reports said.
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