Investigators tracked down two suspects accused in connection with an armored truck robbery Tuesday, thanks to the help of a hidden Apple AirTag inside a bin of stolen money, court documents show.
In a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in federal court, authorities recommended Devonte Davis, 26, and Darrell Singleton, 18, be charged with armed robbery.
Singleton was already wanted by the FBI for his alleged involvement in another armed robbery of a Brink’s truck last October, a spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Investigation Chicago Field Office confirmed.
According to authorities, the robbery happened at approximately 9:25 a.m. Tuesday outside Jewel-Osco on 183rd Street in south suburban Homewood. Brink’s records show the robbers took approximately $1.1 million, court documents reveal.
The criminal complaint alleges two guards exited the armored truck and went into the store. When one returned, he was approached by a suspect, identified by federal authorities as Singleton, who reportedly pistol-whipped him in the head with a gun.
Court documents show the suspected robbers removed seven plastic bins, each of which contained about $100,000 in cash, and stole approximately 10 deposit bags, each containing about $50,000.
Surveillance cameras captured parts of the robbery, according to court documents, which contained the images.
According to a witness who called 911, there was a grey Nissan parked behind the armored truck, later determined to be used by the suspects. A criminal complaint alleges the Nissan was caught on multiple speed cameras in the area driving at a high rate of speed and was determined to have a license plate on it registered to a 2018 Hyundai, reported stolen in late April.
The criminal complaint reveals, in an interview with investigators, Singleton admitted the suspects swapped vehicles, moving the money into a Jeep belonging to Davis. The Jeep was located outside a home near West 125th and Justine streets, where the duo was found.
According to federal investigators, Brink’s security officers contacted law enforcement and informed them a tracking device has been stolen in the robbery, subsequently providing live updates on the location of the device. It was about an hour from the time of the robbery until the tracking device was showing at the home, documents reveal.
“They were created for lost goods and Apple doesn’t advertise them being used for recovering stolen items, but they’re certainly being used for that more and more,” said retired FBI agent and CEO of Veracity IIR, Doug Kouns.
“Perhaps the owner of that particular branch of the company was safeguarding themselves by randomly throwing an AirTag in every so many bags or bins,” Kouns said, “and in this case it worked out.”
Kouns isn’t involved in this case but spoke to WGN about the nature of these crimes, which he said, are typically violent.
“These banks and armored cars by extension are insured by the FDIC, which makes it a federal crime,” Kouns said. “Even if somebody’s not hurt, often guns are used or threatened.”
According to the criminal complaint, law enforcement called for anyone in the Calumet Park home to come out, and three people exited, including Davis, his girlfriend, and another male. It was later when law enforcement searched the attic and found Singleton hiding and recovered a loaded handgun with an extended magazine.
“It was crazy,” Vanessa, a neighbor, said. “I’m like what is going on out here.”
For hours, federal SWAT investigators, local police and other agencies swarmed the neighborhood, which residents said is typically quiet.
“I’m just shocked,” Vanessa said. “I’m just surprised whatever was going on, I didn’t see it.”
Vanessa said she knows her neighbors and that she is unaware of any problems previously at that home.
Investigators also recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash hidden in the ceiling of the basement and under the insulation in the attic, the AirTag tracking device inside a Brink’s bag, a Brink’s deposit slip, Brink’s keys and documentation and clothing matching the description of what the suspects wore during the armed robbery, records show.
According to court documents, Singleton admitted he and Davis committed the armed robbery in Homewood. Davis initially told investigators he was not involved, and later revised his statement, claiming he met up with Singleton after and drove around, placing money in unknown locations.
The arrests are a double victory for the FBI, which has been looking for Singleton since last year, when a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Investigators said Darrell, his brother, Corrie Singleton, 21, and a juvenile were involved in an armed robbery in Lansing. According to the indictment and criminal complaints filed in that case, while a Brink’s security courier was refilling an ATM at a bank in the 16700 block of Torrence Avenue, the courier was robbed at gunpoint and money was stolen from the ATM.
Authorities also allege, in that case, the suspects forcibly dragged the courier into the armored truck and ordered her to open inner compartments and hand over bags of money. In total, more than $121,000 was stolen from the courier and ATM, and approximately $904,132 from the armored truck.
Federal prosecutors allege the suspects fled from police, and after a pursuit, crashed and bailed on foot. Corrie and the juvenile were taken into custody, while Darrell remained on the run until earlier this week.
Court records show Darrell will appear in front of a judge on May 10 for a status hearing.