An interesting story close to home. I live not too far from the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre is an open air concert venue that seats about 20,500 including lawn seating. Some other stories made mention of the robbers getting away with “an undisclosed amount of money.”
Well, the 911 call came out today and the amount of money stolen is extraordinary.
At the 1 minute 10 second mark the operator asks if the robbers took anything. The answer is so surprising that I contacted the Raleigh Police Department’s Public Information Officer for confirmation. PIO Jim Sughrue confirmed that the female caller reported $500,000 had been stolen.
From the original press release, dated 8:21PM July 13
Shortly after 11:30 a.m. today, Raleigh Police Department officers responded to a robbery call at the business offices of the Walnut Creek Amphitheater. Three armed suspects had entered the office, robbed it of cash and taken wallets and cell phones from employees before fleeing on foot.
In addition to converging on the crime scene, RPD officers and other law enforcement personnel circulated in the surrounding area. A short time later, a Wake County Sheriff’s Office deputy detained an individual walking in the vicinity. That suspect, (Suspect 1) (DOB 8/20/92) has now been charged with six counts of robbery with a dangerous weapon, (one count concerning the business and five counts related to employees), along with five counts of second degree kidnapping. He has been transported to the Wake County Detention Center.
The two other two suspects who are known to have been involved in the robbery remain at large. Officers were able to locate money stolen during the crime and work remains underway to determine if cash and other property remain unrecovered.
Take some time to listen to the 10-1/2 minute audio. And then ponder the question, why did Walnut Creek Amphitheatre have half a million dollars in deposit bags on a Monday morning, apparently with just about zero security. The caller reports that the robbers had her co-workers face down at gunpoint and when she came in they forced her into the “cash room,” which was already open, to open the safe.
Security isn’t about the money. Money can be replaced. You put security in place to prevent your employees from ending up face down on the floor, wondering if they are about to get murdered.
The 911 call audio raises the interesting question of inside information. I would have no idea that they had more than $500 at that location. Sure, they sell tickets that could be expensive, but don’t most people buy concert tickets online? Even if I was the sort of vile creature who might like to steal people’s money at gunpoint, it wouldn’t even occur to me that they had enough money to be worth stealing.
The caller says several things that indicate she thinks that they had inside info. When you design security, the only inside information you want your employees to have is “it would be too hard, too dangerous, and too unrewarding to steal from this place.” Either these robbers got incredibly lucky, or they got tipped off.
The caller said she’d been working there for 20 years and nothing like this has ever happened before. Stay safe out there. Even if you never go looking for trouble, trouble might come looking for you.