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Armored truck driver sentenced to 3 years for stealing more than $900,000

Mark Nicholas Espinosa was arrested in Connecticut a month after the theft from the armored truck he was driving in Kentucky.
Image: The Garda armored truck was stolen by Mark Espinosa on Dec. 5, 2018.
The Garda armored truck stolen by Mark Espinosa on Dec. 5, 2018.Louisville Metro Police Department

An armored truck driver who stole more than $900,000 in Kentucky last year has been sentenced to more than three years in prison, prosecutors said.

Mark Nicholas Espinosa, a former GardaWorld driver who pleaded guilty, was sentenced Tuesday to 37 months on five federal counts related to a Dec. 5, 2018, theft in Louisville. He has also been ordered to pay $932,285 in restitution.

Espinosa was behind the wheel of a bulletproof armored truck and was expected to meet his partner, who had gone inside a mall to collect cash, on the other side of the shopping center.

Mark Espinosa in a photo provided by the FBI.via FBI

But when his partner arrived, neither Espinosa nor the truck was there. It was found abandoned in another area of the parking lot, and more than $932,000 was missing, authorities said.

Espinosa was arrested near Hartford, Connecticut, in January and was living under the name "Sam Smith" — prosecutors say he began creating phony identification documents with that name in late 2018 — and officials found $892,737 in his apartment. Espinosa used some of the stolen money to buy a Chevrolet Malibu in Pennsylvania five days after the theft, according to prosecutors.

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Espinosa was indicted in February on charges of theft from a common carrier, bank robbery, interstate transportation of stolen money, monetary transactions involving stolen money and money laundering.

He pleaded guilty to the five counts in September as part of a plea agreement, according to court documents.

He began working for GardaWorld in the summer of 2018, according to court records.