Armored truck driver guilty in $1.2 million heist
A South Carolina man was sentenced to at least six years in prison for his role in robbing an armored car in Canton in November, 2011 after a jury trial ended Tuesday.
Jurors listened to a week’s worth of testimony and evidence before finding 24-year-old Alex Stephen Loftis guilty of four out of six felony charges against him.
Loftis is a co-defendant with Jerry Blake Bogan, who is accused of conspiring with him to rob the Dunbar armored truck for which Loftis worked.
On the morning of Nov. 10, Loftis was making a scheduled delivery to the ATM at the Exxon in Canton on Radio Hill. When his co-worker exited the vehicle to make the drop, Loftis allowed Bogan, who does not work for Dunbar, to enter the car.
Bogan allegedly tasered the other employee and took his weapon, according to authorities. He later left the truck with about $1.2 million and Loftis drove to the State Employees Credit Union in Clyde, where his co-worker called the police.
Shortly after the robbery and his arrest, Bogan led detectives to the stolen money, which was buried in a metal chest under his porch and hidden in a utility building and under his dresser drawer.
Bogan testified against Loftis Tuesday and Wednesday, claiming that it was Loftis’ idea to rob the car. The two had been friends for several years after working together at Loftis’ family-owned business in South Carolina.
He said they planned to make it seem as if the robbery wasn't an inside job.
“The plan was to put on a show and make it look like an actual robbery," Bogan said on the stand Tuesday.
Loftis' attorney, Al Messer, claimed that Loftis did not conspire with Bogan to commit the crime and was simply a victim of the robbery.
“I’m being accused of something I didn’t do,” Loftis said, sobbing when he took the stand Friday.
Loftis said he opened the truck door for Bogan because he thought it was his coworker, and that he continued to drive at the direction of Bogan because he was afraid of what he might do. Loftis claimed he never recognized Bogan’s voice or knew who he was during the robbery.
“I’m guilty of stupidity for having a bad friend…but I never robbed or kidnapped or held a gun to anybody. I never did that,” Loftis told the court.
The jury found him guilty of robbery with a dangerous weapon, larceny by employee of more than $100,000, conspiracy to commit larceny by an employee of more than $100,000 and second degree kidnapping.
Superior Court Judge Nathaniel Poovey consolidated three of his charges and sentenced Loftis to 73 to 97 months in jail followed by supervised probation for 36 months in South Carolina for the fourth charge. If he violates probation, he will serve another 25 to 39 months in jail.
Assistant District Attorney Rachael Groffsky said she believes strong witness testimony led the jury to their final decision.
"There were people in this particular case who did the right thing and came forward about what they knew and if hadn’t been for their help we wouldn’t have gotten the verdict that we did today," she said.
Following sentencing, Loftis filed for appeal.
"We respect the jury's verdict, but we of course don't agree with it," Messer said.
Bogan is scheduled to appear in superior court Feb. 11.