A Kentucky armored truck driver who vanished in December, along with a whopping $850,000, has been arrested in Connecticut.
On Wednesday, the FBI announced the arrest of 29-year-old Mark Espinosa, who is accused of snatching the cash and going under the radar for weeks until police caught up with him in Wethersfield, about 5 miles south of Hartford.
The feds haven’t disclosed how or when Espinosa was apprehended, but local police say they’re still trying to collect the missing funds.
“We’re still trying to retrieve the money,” Wethersfield Police Chief James Cetran told the Louisville Courier Journal. “Obviously, (authorities) are afraid somebody is going to get to it before we do.”
A review of public records shows Espinosa, who lived with his father in Louisville, has relatives in New Britain, Connecticut.
Lynn Espinosa, a cousin of the suspect, posted missing persons fliers on Facebook for weeks after he disappeared. She told The Daily Beast that the criminal allegations are “not something I would expect from him.”
“I would never, ever think in my life he would do something like that,” Lynn Espinosa said. “He was one of the kindest people.”
“We’re just glad he’s at least alive,” she added. “It’s just weird. The only way for me to think that he would do something [like steal money] is if he was in trouble, if he was threatened.”
The relative said Espinosa didn’t appear to have any debts or issues that would prompt him to abscond with hundreds of thousands of dollars. She said her family hails from Connecticut but slowly relocated to Kentucky.
“He’s always been into security, and he always loved his job,” Lynn Espinosa added. “He’s never had problems with money, ever.”
She said Espinosa is shy, usually keeps to himself and isn’t known to hang around a lot of friends or have a significant other. He’s interested in playing board games with family and loves computers, she added.
The alleged robbery occurred during Espinosa’s Dec. 5, 2018 work shift, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit filed in support of a criminal complaint. Espinosa was charged with theft from interstate shipment five days later, when the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky issued a warrant for his arrest.
At about 3:18 p.m., Louisville cops responded to a call about a robbery of a Garda armored truck at the Jefferson Mall.
Mark Sneed, a Garda employee for 14 years, told officers that he and his partner, Espinosa, had just arrived at the mall to pick up money from several retailers.
Sneed entered the mall and told Espinosa, who was hired in July 2018, to stay in the truck and then head to the other side of the mall.
But when Sneed exited the shopping center, the truck wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Sneed contacted mall security, and the truck was found in a rear parking lot.
“Garda has indicated that it is abnormal for the truck to be parked in this manner,” the affidavit states. “Normally Garda trucks are parked as close to the door as possible. Espinosa was missing and hundreds of thousands of dollars were also missing from the truck.”
Espinosa left his personal backpack, coat and service weapon inside the truck, where the battery and back cover of his cellphone were also found. His wallet, which included his driver’s license and credit cards, were in the backpack.
“There was no blood or other signs of a struggle inside the truck,” the affidavit states, adding that the armored truck automatically locks, and Sneed was the only person with the key to the truck.
Authorities executed a search warrant on Espinosa’s home, and his father told cops that while he owns the house, his son is responsible for paying the bills.
Two computers were discovered in Espinosa’s bedroom, but both hard drives were gone, police said.
A review of Espinosa’s cellphone records revealed that on Dec. 4 at 9:04 p.m., the alleged thief requested a Lyft ride from the same Jefferson Mall he fled. His cellphone also pinged at a tower near the mall that evening.
In his affidavit, the FBI agent said several of Espinosa’s relatives were interviewed, and that Espinosa didn’t appear to have “any contact with his family since the robbery.”
Garda offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to Espinosa’s arrest. The FBI’s reward for information was $10,000.
“When he disappeared, I thought he was kidnapped and someone had killed him or something,” Espinosa’s father told WAVE 3 News in Louisville, about two weeks ago.
Espinosa left for work that morning like he did everyday, said the father, who was interviewed on condition that the news outlet not publish his name.
“I thought I knew my son but, this is a complete surprise to me,” the father said.