Who could forget the surveillance video -- a Brink’s guard casually walking into a store in Sawgrass Mills Mall and leaving with $162,000 on the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, November 26, 2011.
The problem -- he wasn’t a Brink’s employee. A year later, police say they have their man.
This week, the FBI’s South Florida Violent Crimes Task Force got a tip that the man in the video, John Mortimer, was in Jamaica. A team of U.S. Marshals went there and arrested the 25-year-old in Mandeville, just outside Kingston.
Sunrise police say it was Mortimer, who, dressed as a Brink's guard, walked into the Aeropostale clothing store in Sawgrass Mills Mall last year and picked up the cash from the days sales, just as a Brink’s guard does every day. After correctly signing all of the paperwork in six spots, he casually walked out the front door.
It was the perfect crime until investigators came across the getaway car at Uncle Bob’s Storage in Plantation. A cop patrolling the area received a lojack hit on a stolen vehicle, a 2006 Chrysler 300. He traced it to one of the storage bays.
When he opened it, there was the car. When he popped the trunk, he found a Brink’s uniform, complete with patches, badges, a gun, two Nextel phones and pick up bags. He immediately contacted the FBI, who called Sunrise police.
"To be quite honest with you,” Sunrise Police Detective Luis Fernandez told Local 10’s John Turchin, “this couldn't have been written better by a movie producer."
By checking the rental agreement at the storage facility, police got a name -- John Mortimer. Relatives confirmed Mortimer was the man in the surveillance video. Police compared his signature on the agreement to the signatures on the deposit slips left at the store.
"If you look at the ‘J’ on the rental agreement, you'll notice that it's the same identical ‘J’ that's listed on these deposit slips from the actual brinks deposit slips," said Fernandez.
When Mortimer dumped the car, he added a name to the rental agreement, allowing only one other person access to the bay -- Noel Hugh. The name of the assistant manager of the Aeropostale -- Noel Hugh Reid.
Also, in checking the surveillance video, Det. Fernandez noticed Mortimer making a phone call. The time stamp on the video was 9:48 a.m. When he ran the phone records on one of the phones found in the trunk of the getaway car, it showed the call was made to a phone owned by Noel Reid. Det. Fernandez believes this was an inside job.
“It was an onion peel,” explained Det. Fernandez. “We started -- and layer after layer -- it worked in our favor.”
Reid is still on the run. Investigators believe he is likely in South Florida, probably Broward County. Det. Fernandez says Reid has been on a spending spree -- financing parties at nightclubs and buying friends gifts. It appears he also bought himself a $20,000 Ducati motorcycle, which he bragged about on his Facebook page.
“They were pretty good. They were pretty good, but they left too much meat on the bone,” said Fernandez, with a giggle.