Robbery case to be tried again
The case against a man convicted of robbing an armored car in Haywood County in November, 2011 must be tried again by a jury.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently filed an opinion that a mistake was made in the trial against Alex Stephen Loftis, a South Carolina resident who was convicted of robbing an armored car in Canton.
Loftis was a driver for the Dunbar armored car company and was making a money delivery to an ATM at a gas station in Canton when a masked man entered the car. Loftis was convicted of conspiring with the masked man, his friend Jerry Blake Bogan, to rob the armored car and make it look like an actual robbery rather than an inside job. The two had previously worked together at Loftis' family-owned business in South Carolina.
The two made away with about $1 million in cash after threatening another armored car employee who was not involved in the heist.
After arresting the two, Bogan led Canton police to multiple places where he had hidden the stolen money for safe keeping.
After a week-long trial in January 2013, a Haywood County jury convicted Loftis of larceny of an employee greater than $100,000, robbery with a dangerous weapon, second-degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit larceny by an employee greater than $100,000.
Judge Nathaniel J. Poovey sentenced Loftis to between six and eight years in prison and 36 months supervised probation following his jail time.
However, on Jan 22, 2014, the appeals court found that the judge made an error by not telling the jury that they could not find Loftis guilty of both larceny by employee and armed robbery.
According to the opinion, it was not an error to submit both offenses to the jury. However, the trial court was required to instruct the jury that it could find the defendant guilty of only one of the two offenses.
"Upon retrial, the trial court is to instruct the jury that defendant can be found guilty of one or neither, but not both, of the charges," according to the opinion from the NC Court of Appeals.
The trial has not yet been scheduled.
Bogan pleaded guilty to robbery with a dangerous weapon and because he cooperated with police and prosecutors, he was sentenced in a mitigated range to 24 months supervised probation and the remaining three charges against him were dismissed.