Police Arrest Suspect in Armed Robbery of Iowa Casino Jackpot Winner

  • The suspects followed the woman in her car from the casino and forced her off the road
  • Spencer allegedly smashed the victim’s window to steal her purse with casino winnings
  • Police identified Spencer via surveillance footage, arresting him at the casino 48 hours later
  • The suspect says he’s innocent despite a police search finding $3,000 in crisp $100 bills
Casino sign in Altoona
Police have arrested a man suspected of following and robbing a woman who’d won an $18,000 double jackpot at Prairie Meadows Casino (pictured) in Iowa. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A violent interception

Police in Des Moines, Iowa, have arrested a man suspected of involvement in the violent armed robbery of a casino double jackpot winner as she made her way home.

an assailant ran her off the road and robbed her

The unnamed woman was carrying $18,000 in cash she had won at the Prairie Meadows Casino, Racetrack & Hotel in Altoona when an assailant ran her off the road and robbed her. This happened at around 3:15am on Tuesday. The Des Moines Police finally arrested Timothy Jacob Spencer at the same casino almost 48 hours later on Wednesday night.

According to a criminal complaint, the Berwick man saw the woman win two jackpots on Tuesday at Prairie Meadows totaling approximately $18,000. The woman left the casino and headed for home when two vehicles forced her off the road. According to the Des Moines Register, the driver of the second vehicle got out and pounded on the jackpot winner’s passenger side window.

Court documents allege Spencer got out of his vehicle with a handgun, walked up to the victim’s window, and shattered it before opening the door and stealing her purse, which held her winnings.

Suspect claims own jackpot win

Police used the victim’s description of Spencer to identify him via surveillance footage and arrested him at the Prairie Meadows casino on Wednesday night. Police booked him into Polk County Jail in the early hours of Thursday.

According to PlayIA, a search warrant on Spencer’s white Jeep Cherokee and trailer in Berwick netted $3,000 in crisp $100 bills, 15 Oxycontin tablets, and a 38 Special revolver in his bedroom. Spencer admitted to buying a new mobile worth $400 but maintains he’s innocent of following the woman or stealing her money. All those crisp $100 bills, he said, were from his own $10,000 jackpot win several weeks before.

suggests he used cash to buy several phones for $500”

In the criminal complaint, however, officers noted Spencer’s route away from the Altoona casino placed him within miles of the crime. In addition, “a receipt found at his trailer suggests he used cash to buy several phones for $500,” said the Iowa news source.

Bail set, hearing soon

Officials charged Spencer with first-degree robbery and theft, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, being armed with intent, and controlled substance charges. 

According to PlayIA, District Associate Judge Becky Goettsch has set an August 1 preliminary hearing date for the trial. Spencer, who said he was jobless in a court filing, has a bond of $60,000. He has requested the court appoint a lawyer on his behalf.

It remains unclear if police have found the second suspect.

In another similar case this month over in Florida, two men hit multiple casinos in an armed robbery spree.

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