Armored Car Driver Pleads Guilty in Scheme to Steal $588,000 from Armored Car

April 24, 2009

Greenbelt, Maryland -Bennie Hugh Pelham, age 35, of Oxon Hill, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to steal over $588,000 from an armored car that he drove, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to his plea agreement, in June 2008, Pelham, along with Gary Lane, Jr. and Edward Mayo, developed a plan to steal money from an armored car belonging to a company that delivered and replenished Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) with cash for banks and financial institutions. At the time, Pelham worked as an ATM technician for the company. They agreed that Lane would steal money on a weekend from a specific armored car driven by Pelham because Pelham worked alone on weekends and this car’s driver’s-side door did not lock properly.

On Saturday, July 5, 2008, Pelham parked the armored car at a shopping center in Wheaton, Maryland, and left the car to replenish an ATM with cash. Lane entered the car and stole $588,000. Pelham returned to the car, saw that Lane had stolen the money and telephoned 911, reporting the theft. Pelham portrayed himself as innocent of any wrongdoing and lied to police investigators about his knowledge of the money’s whereabouts and circumstances of the theft.

Later that day, Pelham met with Mayo and learned that Lane had taken a share of the stolen money and given the rest to Mayo to share with Pelham. Pelham and Mayo discussed how best to prevent the police from finding the stolen money and then asked Damon Pritchett, a childhood friend, to hide the money for them. Pritchett buried two bags containing $103,780 and $220,980 in two separate places in Temple Hills. Lane hid a third bag containing $280,000 of the stolen money in a closet at his residence. The money was later recovered by law enforcement.

Pelham faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. scheduled sentencing for July 20, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.

Judge Williams sentenced Edward Lewis Mayo, age 33, of Temple Hills, Maryland on February 27, 2009 to 14 months in prison for his participation in the conspiracy. Gary Gregory Lane, Jr., age 26, of Oxon Hill, Maryland pleaded guilty on March 5, 2009 to his participation in the conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 28, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. Damon Keith Pritchett, age 33, of Annapolis, Maryland, pleaded guilty on March 24, 2009 to his participation in the offense and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29, 2009 at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Montgomery County Police Department, and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy and his office for their work in this investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Robert K. Hur, who is prosecuting the case.



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