Categorized | Advocate News

Stolen Casino Loot Pays For Tony Vera’s Escape?

Posted on 30 January 2015 by Howard Copelan

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Is Tony Vera financing his life on the lam with some of the money he robbed from the Montego Bay last March?

Vera was a no show at his sentencing hearing two weeks ago in Elko and is still on the run from the law. But unlike most other fugitives Vera could be well heeled at least for the time being.

Vera and partner Elbert Woodson stole over $80,000 from the cage of the Montego Bay Casino last March. According to West Wendover Police some $81,000 was taken only $3,400 was actually recovered.

refundhrAccording to Vera most of the $75,000+ loot was taken by Lauren McCartney who was never charged in the robbery and was going to testify against both Vera and Woodson if the two decided to fight their charges in trial.

Vera made his charges in an exclusive interview with the High Desert Advocate shortly before he was captured by US Marshall at his girlfriend’s home in Tuscon. vera according to several of the man’s friendshas only a passing acquaintance with the truth.

“Vera was no good in wendover he was always up to no good n lying to everybody,” wrote a blogger identified as Martino on the High Desert Advocate’s webpage two weeks ago.

Also in the same interview Vera implicated his own mother in the robbery while insisting that he had not even been in Wendover during the crime.

According to police reports the robber was wearing either a mask or face paint during the crime so identification is impossible. However according to Vera’s court appointed attorney Gary Woodbury the body type of the robber is not close match for Vera.

centracom1501“It isn’t a close match because it isn’t me.” Vera said. “Like I said I was in Salt Lake when it went down. As soon as I heard about it me and another guy took off toward Wendover. I was on the overpass right at the road block the cops set up. I was the one who told Elbert about the road block that is why he turned off the freeway. I couldn’t have known about the road block if I was coming from Wendover could I? The only thing they have placing me in the casino at the time of the robbery is Lauren’s testimony. Why they believe her and not charge her I really don’t know.”

According to Woodbury, Vera is correct in the fact that much of the state’s case against his client is based on McCartney’s testimony as Woodson refused to cooperate with police against his alleged accomplice.

While Vera claims he was not at the casino during the robbery he did admit that he had been there a week before during a previous attempt to rob it.

wrecaqua“It didn’t work out,” Vera said. “The original plan was to go to the Bonneville Gardens Apartments but I guess Elbert decided to go to Salt Lake.”

Vera was the first man ever to rob a Wendover casino and make even a half way successful getaway.

Vera was set to be sentenced on January 13 in plea bargain arranged by Woodbury and Elko County District Attorney Mark Torvinen. According to Woodbury, Vera, would have pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and would have a received a six to ten year sentence.

Vera had been looking a life in prison sentence for being an habitual criminal.

“I don’t think anyone was really surprised he did not show up,” said Woodbury. “Frankly  I was surprised when he got such a low bail after showing that he was a flight risk.”

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