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September 13, 2017 02:54 PM

Sioux Falls Casino Robbery Accomplice Arrested

Sioux Falls, SD

Authorities have arrested a Luverne, Minnesota, man who investigators believed assisted in a string of armed casino robberies in Sioux Falls.

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, Sept. 6, the Crown Casino near 26th Street and Minnesota Avenue was robbed at gunpoint. Before running away on foot with cash, the suspect fired once into the ceiling.

As an officer arrived in the area, they noticed a Kia Forte with Delaware license plates driving north on Spring Avenue near the casino. The officer stopped the driver of the Kia, 39-year-old Eddy Freddy Lopez, at 18th Street and Spring Avenue after spotting a broken brake light. Another officer saw an unused 9 mm shell on the front passenger seat.

According to court papers, police matched the shell to the bullet casing found at the crime scene. Lopez gave the officers permission to search the vehicle.

As police talked to him, Lopez was seen deleting contacts from his phone before police took it away from him. Officers were told to stop searching his vehicle until a search warrant was issued. The clerk involved in the robbery told police that Lopez was not the suspect.

After receiving a search warrant for the vehicle and phone, Lopez told a police detective that he didn't know about the robbery and wasn't involved. While police waited for a warrant to search the vehicle, Lopez was allowed to leave the scene because police had no reason to detain him

A backpack was found inside the vehicle, which contained eight small empty baggies and a digital scale.  After using a field test, police say that one of the bags tested positive for methamphetamine.

Police later determined that Angel Provincial was the suspect in the Crown Casino robbery. By Wednesday afternoon, investigators received a warrant to search Lopez's phone and found several Facebook messages between the two men. In an affidavit, police contest that the messages show the two are associates and communicate regularly.

On Friday, Sept. 8, police used a tip to find Provincial and arrest him as a suspect in the Crown Casino robbery. While in custody, he told investigators that Lopez proposed a plan for the two to buy meth in California and sell it in South Dakota. The pair agreed to robbing casinos in order to raise money to buy the drugs.

In each of three robberies, Provincial told police that Lopez drove him to the casino. Police were able to use surveillance footage from local gas stations to confirm his information. Sioux Falls police also received security footage showing the two arriving at Grand Falls Casino in Lopez's Kia Forte.

Provincial is in custody and charged with three counts of armed robbery. On Monday, police issued a warrant for Lopez's arrest and was taken into custody by the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office Fugitive Task Force.

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