A Peoria man is accused of robbing a Glendale bank and then using the bills at a casino despite their dyed appearance.
Richie Steven Hayes, 51, of Peoria, faces charges of armed robbery and money laundering.
Around 3:45 p.m. Jan. 2, a suspect robbed BMO Harris near 59th Avenue and Bell Road by presenting a demand note that said he had a weapon. The suspect fled with about $4,500, court documents for Mr. Hayes state.
As the suspect fled on a beach-cruiser bicycle, a pink-dye pack within the money exploded. Surveillance video caught the incident along with a getaway vehicle.
According to court documents, a male individual had gone to Desert Diamond Casino West Valley near 95th and Northern avenues on Jan. 17, using about $1,280 in dyed bills on at least one slot machine with minimal play.
Within 24 hours, the marked bills had been detected by casino security staff, who receive extensive training to comply with anti-money laundering laws, the Tohono O'odham Nation stated in a release. Security alerted state-certified Nation officers who are on duty 24/7 at the casino property and coordinated identification of the suspect and his vehicle on surveillance footage.
Tribal police notified Glendale police of the incident, and authorities worked to identify the suspect and vehicle.
According to records, the same person in the Jan. 17 incident returned to the casino Friday, Jan. 24.
A traffic stop was performed on his vehicle near 91st and Olive avenues, and officers from Glendale, Peoria and the Tohono O'odham Nation had the driver exit the vehicle.
Police said evidence of the Jan. 2 bank robbery was located inside the vehicle to include bills with dye on them and a demand note.
Police identified the suspect as Mr. Hayes. He allegedly admitted to detectives about his involvement in the robbery and how he was eventually caught. He reportedly said he would play slot machines at various casinos using the dyed bills in order to exchange with clean bills.
According to records, Mr. Hayes told police his father had died recently and he had to stop working. He said he became desperate for money and decided to rob a bank.
"He began to scout various locations and decided on the BMO bank because it had low traffic and elderly patrons," records state.
"There is nothing more important than the safety of our guests and the community," Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr. stated. "This was an excellent example of the strong relationships the Nation has built with neighboring jurisdictions, who worked together seamlessly to protect the public.”
Mr. Hayes was jailed in lieu of a $20,000 bond with court dates Jan. 31 and Feb. 4.