Louisville KY December 19 2019
A Kentucky man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison after the former armored truck driver disappeared with more than $900,000 and escaped to Connecticut, only to be caught trying to get a driver’s license under a new name.
Mark Nicholas Espinosa was sentenced Tuesday to 37 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release, according to U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman of the Western District of Kentucky.
Espinosa must also pay back every cent of the $932,285.22 in cash he took from his own armored truck last last year.
“When the FBI, [Louisville Metropolitan Police Department] and U.S. Attorney’s Office collaborate as partners, the people of Louisville are the beneficiaries and thieves such as Mr. Espinosa pay the price,” Coleman said.
Mark Espinosa, 29, was taken into custody by Wethersfield CT police. He was wanted for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from an armored car he was driving in Louisville, Ky., federal authorities said.
In a scheme ripped straight from a screenplay, Espinosa sparked a weeks-long, nationwide manhunt after robbing the GardaWorld armored truck he drove late last year.
The truck’s stops on Dec. 5, 2018, began normally when Espinosa and his partner arrived at the Jefferson Mall in Louisville, according to prosecutors. His partner hopped out to collect money inside the mall and expected to meet Espinosa with the truck at another entrance.
Instead, he found the truck abandoned in the mall parking lot with Espinosa and its more than $932,000 in cash nowhere to be found, according to court records. Only Espinosa’s gun, backpack and cell phone battery were left behind.
Unbeknownst to investigators at the time, Espinosa drove through Ohio and Pennsylvania to evade law enforcement and came to Connecticut, near where he grew up in New Britain, officials said.
He was caught almost two months later at the Wethersfield DMV, where a vigilant employee called police on suspicion that Espinosa was using fake documents to obtain a new driver’s license under the assumed name Sam Smith, officials said.
He was arrested and authorities later searched his Middletown apartment, where they found suitcases brimming with the cash taken from the armored truck, police said at the time. In all, they recovered and $892,737.89 in his home, prosecutors said.