Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Perfect Crime?

For years I have been fascinated by one particular robbery. It had all the elements of what I visualize as the perfect crime.

A. The "take" was large enough to be worthwhile - nearly $3 million

B. There was zero chance of anyone getting hurt or killed.

C. It was pulled off with the involvement of only two people.

D. The perps plan gave them more than sufficient time to disappear.

It all started with another robbery. That one was an utter failure. In 1969 Roberto Solis attempted to rob an armored car. He shot a 61 year old guard in the back and made off with the money bag, which turned out to be empty.

Solis was quickly caught and spent the next 24 years in Folsom prison. It was there, with plenty of time on his hands, that he perfected his plan for a robbery that would work.

When he was finally released, in 1992, Solis began to put his plan into action. He befriended a young woman, 20 year old Heather Tallchief, who would be key to his plan.

Solis taught Tallchief how to drive. Once she became proficient he had her apply for a job at the Loomis Armored Car Company. In 1993 she was hired and went to work for Loomis in Las Vegas. Solis patiently waited as Tallchief became more trusted by her supervisors at Loomis.

Months later the waiting paid off. Tallchief was assigned as driver on a 3 person cash run. This particular route involved dropping off millions of dollars to the Circus Circus casino on a regular basis. The procedure called for the armored car driver to drop off her two accompanying guards at one door of the casino. While the guards were inside arranging the unloading of the cash the armored car was supposed to make its way around the building and meet up with her co-workers at a back door. This was the opportunity that Solis had been waiting for so long.

On October 1st, 1993, when the guards walked out of the backdoor of the casino there was no sign of Tallchief or the armored car. It was as if the driver, the huge truck and two and a half million dollars in cash had vanished from the face of the earth.

There was, of course, a massive police investigation. The cops quickly learned of Tallchief's relationship with Solis. But that was the end of the trail. The cops were stymied. No perps, no armored truck, no cash.

It was almost exactly a year before the next break came. It came in the form of a phone call from a property manager. He told police that he had not heard from one of his tenants, who had paid a year's rent in advance for a warehouse space the previous year. When the property manager drove out to the warehouse and found it abandoned he entered and discovered the long lost armored car.

Police found evidence in the warehouse that the couple had hired a private jet the day of the robbery. They tracked down the pilot who told them that the flight was chartered by a woman in a wheelchair and her "doctor". He had taken them to Denver just a few short hours after the theft.

Again the trail went cold. It stayed cold until the 15th of this month, when Heather Tallchief kissed her 10 year old son good by in Holland, where she had been living under an assumed name, jumped on a plane to the US and turned herself in to authorities. According to London's Guardian newspaper she decided to give herself up for the sake of her son, who had become curious about her, and his, past.

The Guardian also reported that before Tallchief turned herself in she sold her story to a Hollywood studio in order to raise money to help reimburse Loomis.

Tallchief says that the mastermind of the crime, Roberto Solis, abandoned her and took off with the money nearly 10 years ago.


Blogger Admin said...

What a great blog. Wish there were more like this.

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3:40 AM  

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