Breckenridge bank robbery leads to FBI commendations for sheriff’s deputies
More than three years after an armored car was robbed in the parking lot of Bank of the West in Breckenridge, three detectives of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office were recognized with Federal Bureau of Investigation commendations for their role in bringing the suspect to justice.
Sergeant Wes Mumford and detectives Jared Dennis and Kris Brady received the commendations, which were signed by FBI director Robert S. Mueller, III.
They state: “The FBI extends its appreciation for your outstanding assistance in a joint investigative effort. Your contributions were immeasurable, and you have the gratitude of the FBI for all you did to help accomplish the objectives of the investigation.”
Mumford was newly promoted to sergeant when the case broke, he said Thursday. He was surprised by the recognition, especially since so much time had passed since the case was closed.
“I was not expecting this three years after the fact,” Mumford said. “I think an FBI commendation is one of the most prestigious you will receive in your career. It’s nice to know someone found the work you did helpful.”
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In April 2010 a young man wearing a black ski mask and black gloves approached a Loomis Armored Car Company employee in the parking lot of Bank of the West in Breckenridge, brandished a pistol and demanded money.
Breckenridge Police Officers responded to the scene, but were unable to locate the suspect, later identified as Joseph Sexton, who escaped on foot with an unreported sum of money in a Loomis bank bag.
Although Breckenridge Police Officers were unable to locate the suspect, video surveillance provided some insight into the identification of the robber. Those images were distributed to law enforcement officers throughout the region.
About two weeks later on Susan Court in unincorporated Summit County a caretaker was making his weekly rounds, checking on his clients’ second homes and completing odd jobs. When he pulled into the driveway of 78 Susan Court, the caretaker noticed a suspicious vehicle in the driveway.
Inside the home the caretaker confronted a man, who identified himself as a friend of the owners and was there to pick up his skis. Skeptical, the caretaker first made note of the man’s license plate and then phoned the owners. The owners said no one should have been in their home.
The caretaker notified the authorities, prompting an investigation by the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. During the course of that investigation, deputies discovered there had been additional burglaries in the vicinity of Susan Court, with residents reporting a variety of stolen items ranging from computers to rifles, skis and golf clubs.
With the license plate number in hand, Sexton quickly became the main target of the burglary investigation. It wasn’t until they caught up with him in the parking lot of a nearby trailhead that investigators realized he might also be connected to the Bank of the West robbery.
“Joe was a young kid who seemed to be down on his luck,” Mumford said. “He was living out of his car and we found out later he also had been in some trouble in his hometown in Michigan. He was just a young man who made some bad choices.”
Deputies knew they had enough to place Sexton into custody for at least one burglary on Susan Court. Standard Sheriff’s Office protocol states vehicles must be impounded and an inventory of its contents be completed. During the course of that inventory deputies discovered several items that closely matched those used in the Bank of the West armored car robbery.
Deputies immediately halted the inventory and notified Breckenridge Police Department officers, prompting the beginning of a joint investigation with the BPD and the FBI and an execution of a search warrant for the vehicle. Inside investigators obtained a BB gun with the orange cap removed, a black hat with holes cut in it for a person’s mouth and eyes, and black gloves with the index fingers removed.
In the end, the evidence collected was enough to prompt Sexton to agree to a plea deal of aggravated robbery. He is currently out on bail and residing outside of Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections web site.
Although Sexton was not charged for the numerous burglaries he allegedly committed in Summit County, Mumford credits methodical police work for the FBI recognition. It was the wherewithal of the team to recognize additional evidence of criminal activity, even if it didn’t pertain to their burglary investigation, that contributed to Sexton’s conviction, Mumford said.
“We have a fine team of investigators,” said Sheriff John Minor. “We’ve known that for a long time, but it’s nice to have their work recognized by someone as high up as the director of the FBI.”
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