Authorities in South Carolina have announced five arrests in one of the largest heists in U.S. history but said that one fugitive remains on the loose.
The Richland County, S.C., sheriff's department alleges the men were involved in the May 11 robbery of an armored car near Columbia, which netted approximately $9.8 million — more than half of the $18 million the Express Teller Armored Car Services truck was carrying at the time.
Sheriff Leon Lott said law enforcement recovered $2.7 million of the stolen $9.8 million.
Police have identified the alleged robbers as Kelby Blakney, Domonique Blakney, Jeremy McPhail, Darryl Frierson and Paul Whitaker.
An additional suspect, Dominic La Shaun Lyde of Darlington, S.C., is currently on the lam.
All but Whitaker have been charged with armed robbery, kidnapping and aggravated assault and battery. Whitaker faces a charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.
Authorities believe it was an inside job with one of the guards of the armored car — Frierson — allegedly assisting the other thieves. The robbery occurred around midnight at a gas station when the truck was refueling.
As the driver entered the truck, he was "struck in the face by an unknown subject wielding a handgun," according to the police report. Investigators believe it was Lyde and McPhail who gained access to the armored truck.
Frierson was then apparently "forced" by his alleged accomplices to drive the armored truck about 2 miles away to a site where the men began to unload the cash after meeting with the other suspects. Frierson was found bound with duct tape.
According to Lott, after the robbery the men bought shoes, Mother's Day gifts, and one man got a tattoo of a spider web with cash on it. The Richland County sheriff worked on the investigation with the FBI and the South Carolina law enforcement division.
According to the FBI's Bank Crime Statistics Report, U.S. banks were robbed or broken into nearly 20 times a day in 2006. A total of 6,895 bank robberies occurred in the United States last year, including 37 armored car robberies, resulting in about $72 million being stolen. Of this, authorities recovered only $11.2 million.