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FBI: Armored-truck driver wanted for stealing 'large amount' of money caught

KNXV Mark Espinosa Louisville FBI.jpeg
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 18:22:31-05

WETHERSFIELD, CT — The driver of an armored vehicle wanted for allegedly stealing an undisclosed amount of money and then disappearing from his post outside of a Louisville, Kentucky, mall in December has been arrested, according to federal and local authorities.

FBI Louisville and the Louisville Metro Police Department said in a Twitter post on Wednesday that Mark Espinosa, 29, of Louisville, had been captured on a federal warrant near Hartford, Connecticut, after disappearing on Dec. 5.

The FBI thanked the Wethersfield Police Department in Connecticut for its help in making the arrest.

Louisville authorities had said Espinosa had ties to the Northeast United States, as well as family members in the West and in Texas and Florida.

On Dec. 5, at around 3:15 p.m., Espinosa was working as an armored-vehicle driver for GardaWorld near the Jefferson Mall when the company called the Louisville Metro Police Department to report that he had gone missing along with some money.

According to court documents, Espinosa had been hired by GardaWorld in July 2018.

Police would only say that "a large amount of U.S. currency" had also gone missing but court documents noted "hundreds of thousands of dollars" and a report in The Louisville Courier-Journal from December said that $850,000 in cash had been taken from the armored vehicle.

Police found the armored vehicle at the back of the mall, authorities said in December. They said Espinosa was last seen in a dark-blue shirt and dark-blue pants.

Lt. Steve Kaufling previously said that there were usually two employees in the armored vehicle. On that particular day in December, Epinosa waited inside the vehicle outside the mall while another employee went inside to make drops and pickups.

Kaufling said that it was not the team's first drop of the day and that they had made several drops that day.

In radio calls from police, officers said the truck had been found still running "along with a weapon in the vehicle."

Initially, authorities said they were unsure whether Espinosa was in danger or a suspect in the incident, but on Dec. 10, a federal arrest warrant was issued for him.

According to court documents, when authorities searched the armored vehicle, they found Espinosa's backpack, coat and service weapon, as well as his wallet containing his driver's license and credit cards. The battery and back cover of his cellphone were also found.

At his home, authorities found two computers in his bedroom "but both hard drives were missing," court documents said.

On Jan. 9, authorities held a news conference, saying that Espinosa was a wanted fugitive and suspected of theft.

"We believe that he acted to take the money," Kaufling said during that news conference. "Through our investigation, we have ruled out this being a random act of violence. ... At this time, we believe Mark Espinosa has taken steps to plan out this theft and has taken steps to cover up his planning."

There was no surveillance video from the mall, police said.

GardaWorld had offered a reward up to $50,000 for information leading to the recovery of the missing money and arrest and conviction of those responsible. The FBI had also offered a reward of up to $10,000.

Authorities had said Espinosa should be considered armed and dangerous.

Wethersfield Chief James Cetran told ABC News on Wednesday that the money that went missing was still under investigation and that Louisville police were on their way to Connecticut to speak to Espinosa.

Cetran said Espinosa was arrested by Wethersfield officers after he allegedly forged a government document claiming to be someone he was not. Cetran said officers later learned that Espinosa was wanted by the FBI.