An armored car driver suspected of taking $17 million from his company's vault has been captured in Mexico after a manhunt of nearly five months. Six other people also were arrested, including a couple who suddenly moved from a trailer to a $635,000 house.
David Scott Ghantt, 28, was arrested Sunday on an island off the Mexican coast, near the resort city of Cozumel, FBI spokesman William Perry said today. Ghantt was charged in connection with the robbery reported Oct. 5 at Loomis, Fargo & Co.
In addition, six other people, some of whom had been spending large amounts of money, were arrested Monday in North Carolina in connection with the case, Perry said. One of them was a former Loomis employee. Several cars and nine safety deposit boxes were seized, authorities said.
Authorities also are looking for evidence in connection with a possible conspiracy to kill Ghantt, Perry said.
Loomis, Fargo offered a $500,000 reward after the theft. It was unclear whether anyone will get that money, authorities said.
Surveillance tapes and photographs showed a man who the FBI believes is Ghantt taking bags of money and putting them onto a cart in the vault at Loomis, Fargo's offices in Charlotte. Another surveillance videotape shows the man loading the bags into a company van.
The FBI recovered several million dollars in a van found in Mecklenburg County, but about $14 million in cash is still missing, authorities said.
Perry identified the other six people arrested as Steve and Michelle Chambers; Kelly Jane Campbell, a former Loomis employee; Michael L. McKinney; Thomas Nathan Grant; and Eric Haley Payne.
According to an affidavit, at least some of the suspects spent large sums of money following the robbery. Steve and Michelle Chambers moved from a mobile home into the $635,000 house.
The affidavit also cited telephone conversations between Steve Chambers and McKinney that indicated they may have been plotting Ghantt's murder in Mexico only days ago. No attempted murder charges had been filed.
All six were charged with aiding, abetting and counseling the commission of a bank larceny and being accessories after the fact, and hindering Ghantt's apprehension.
On March 29 of last year, in the largest armored car heist in U.S. history, $18.8 million was taken from Loomis, Fargo in Jacksonville, Fla. An employee, Philip Noel Johnson , was arrested Aug.30 in connection with that theft, All but $186,000 was recovered.
©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.