DES MOINES, Iowa — Police in Des Moines have arrested one of the men they say is responsible for the terrifying robbery of a metro woman who had just won a significant amount of money at Prairie Meadows Casino.
Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department told WHO 13 the incident happened early Tuesday morning after the victim won two jackpots at the Altoona casino totaling more than $10,000. The woman was driving home when her car was forced off the road by two vehicles in the 3400 block of Easton Boulevard at around 3:15 a.m.
Police said 30-year-old Timothy Spencer, of Berwick, was driving one of those vehicles. Spencer had a handgun when he exited the vehicle and Sgt. Parizek said he struck the driver-side window of the victim’s vehicle, shattering it. He then opened the door and grabbed the victim’s purse, which contained her winnings from the casino.
The other suspect was driving the second vehicle that forced the woman off the road and she told police he got out and pounded on the passenger side window.
The victim was not hurt during the incident.
A criminal complaint in the case said using a description of the suspect provided by the victim, investigators were able to find Spencer on surveillance video from Prairie Meadows. The video showed he was in the immediate area of the victim when she won her jackpots. Spencer also, “continued to surveil the victim and exited the casino around 3:00 a.m., which was around the same time the victim exited.”
Spencer was taken into custody at Prairie Meadows Casino Wednesday night. Search warrants executed in the case turned up $1,000 in cash and a bottle of oxycodone he did not have a prescription for in his vehicle.
At Spencer’s home, another $2,000 in cash and a silver .38 Special revolver were recovered.
In an interview with police, Spencer denied participating in the robbery and said the cash in his possession was from a $10,000 jackpot he won at Prairie Meadows several weeks ago.
Spencer is being held in the Polk County Jail on charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree theft, going armed with intent, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, and possession of a controlled substance. His bond is set at $60,000 and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 1.
Sgt. Parizek said the second suspect in the robbery has not been arrested yet.