Pillowcase Buy Ties Trooper to Poker Heist

Surveillance footage shows trooper buying pillowcases for a poker game stickup.

ByDAVID SCHOETZ

March 5, 2008 &#151 -- The first clue in the stickup of a big bucks poker game at a Delaware country club came when the card players said that one of the victims was a Delaware state trooper.

Before police even arrived at the scene, the trooper took off.

Nearly three weeks later, the Delaware State Police announced the arrest of Trooper First Class HyunJin Kim, 27.

The two-year veteran of the state police patrol was charged with 11 counts of robbery as well as wearing a disguise during a felony, possession of a weapon during a felony and conspiracy.

For his protection, Kim is being held in an unidentified correctional facility, according to Cpl. Jeff Whitmarsh, a spokesman for the Delaware State Police. Cash bond was set at on $240,000.

State police continue to look for three men they describe as accomplices in the heist, which took place in the clubhouse of Wild Quail Golf and Country Club Feb. 22.

Witnesses told police that a dozen players were in the club when three men dressed in black and wearing ski masks burst into the room. Two were armed with handguns and the third carried a shotgun.

Two of the players, described by state police as ranging in age from 33 to 66, were pistol-whipped, Whitmarsh said. They were ordered to the floor and given red pillowcases to cover their heads.

The culprits collected about $10,000 in cash, according to court records, credit cards and cell phones. They left in a small car with a loud muffler.

Police recovered the red pillowcases and victims reportedly told authorities that one of the players in the game was a state trooper named Kim. When interviewed, Kim only provided a few details about the robbery, saying his view was obstructed by the pillowcase, Whitmarsh said.

Detectives searched area stores where the red pillowcases might be sold and found identical pillowcases at a Wal-Mart.

A surveillance tape from the store showed two men leaving Wal-Mart with $18 worth of pillowcases. One was Kim, police said. The second man, wearing a Chicago White Sox cap and carrying the pillowcases, has not been identified.

The break provided authorities with enough evidence to obtain a warrant to search Kim's house where they discovered a receipt for the pillowcases and keys belonging to two of the witnesses, Whitmarsh said.

"We're still looking for the three suspects who went in and committed the robbery," Whitmarsh said, adding that detectives so far have not been able to identify the gunmen.

Kim has been suspended by the state police.

Whitmarsh called the alleged actions of Kim an anomaly among Delaware state troopers.

"Our worst-case scenario at any time is having to arrest one of our own," he said. "But we hold ourselves to high standards and sometimes it's something we've got to do."

The Wild Quail Golf and Country Club, meanwhile, vowed to ramp up its security to prevent unauthorized gambling in the future.

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