PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A two year plot to rob an armored bank car and murder the drivers stopped in dramatic fashion on I-95 in Martin County last week.
Law enforcement said three men are accused in a two-year plan to steal $4 million from an armored Loomis truck in Port St. Lucie and kill two guards. The take down occurred on February 20 but the FBI and local agencies are just now releasing new information into this federal investigation.
“To me, as I look back on the video, it almost looks like a TV production,” said Martin County Sheriff William Snyder during a press conference on Friday. “We had a heads up, quite a bit in advance, we were intimately involved in planning for the arrest.
Deputies arrested Daryl Canady, Alger Lee Ellison and Martiavious Leon Williams. Canady -- also known as “Doo Doo” -- was the alleged mastermind of the plot unknowingly worked with a tipster who was secretly working with the FBI.
“In my decades of law enforcement I can’t remember a single case where we had such good intel,” said Snyder.
The FBI says the Palm Beach County men spent two years mapping out a plan to steal millions of dollars from an armored truck coming from a PNC Bank off Gatlin Boulevard in Port St. Lucie. They also planned to kill the two employees in the truck.
“Pretty complex, very violent, very dangerous,” said Snyder.
Federal and local authorities said they knew what was about to happen and stopped it, with Martin County Sheriff's Office taking the lead on the arrest.
“It was our swat team, our special operators," said Sheriff Snyder. "I will tell you this in today’s day and age, with so much criticism of law enforcement, there were several dozen people with tactical rifles and their fingers on the trigger -- and nobody pulled the trigger."
Other local agencies including Palm Beach County and the St. Lucie County sheriff’s departments also teamed up with FBI to stop the suspects on the southbound lanes of I-95, hours before they could pull off the deadly heist.
“This is not unusual to happen like this and it happens seamlessly most of the time but that’s how law enforcement is supposed to work," said Palm Beach County Sheriff Rick Bradshaw. “It’s important for us to make sure for the safety of officers and deputies involved -- that you have a concerted effort to take these people down.”
According to the federal court documents, Doo Doo described the robbery as, “like taking candy from a baby.”
“We had a profound amount of fear that this case could have resulted in violence,” said Snyder. “They got caught and they knew this wasn’t going to be good.”
Tipster comes forward
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by the FBI, a tipster came forward to agents on Feb. 13 reporting that Canady and others were planning to rob a Loomis armored truck in Palm Beach County. Canady had asked the tipster to participate in the robbery by driving a stolen truck to the location where Canady and the others would steal the millions of dollars.
Canady told the informant that two of the three guards were in on the robbery and that the robbers would shoot and kill the third guard who was not involved, according to the FBI report.
In order to continue the investigation, the FBI instructed the informant to act along with the robbery in order to gain more information into the plan. This led to an abandoned robbery attempt that was originally supposed to take place in West Palm Beach that day, on Feb. 13.
FBI agents continued to observe the discussions and planning between Canady and the informant.
The 'dry run'
According to the affidavit, Canady continued to plot the robbery with the other suspects and even conducted a 'dry run' of the robbery on Feb. 15, several days before the plot was to be set in motion. The suspects conducted this dry run by driving up to Port St. Lucie to visit the bank.
Canady told the informant that he was planning to kill the guards -- who were supposed to be in on the plan.
"He's the one that is driving the truck, he's the one that's coming out with the bag. That's the one I'm robbing," Canady said, according to report.
"It's all strategically set up, but for us we just have to play our intricate parts. He know how to play his part. She know how to play her part," Canady said of the roles each suspect would play, which included a female guard in the Loomis truck.
The informant asked the suspects about how he should handle himself after he gets his share of the money.
Williams told the informant, "Doo Doo know this shit bigger than what it is... Doo Doo know he can't kill y'all... Cause he is going to use y'all for his next lick... cause two days after he plan on hitting another one."
According to the FBI, the suspects did plan to strike again after the first heist but that never happened. The men surrendered with incident during the take down.
“It’s vital that we participate in these task forces,” said Snyder.
WPTV checked the backgrounds on these men and found dozens of arrests. Canady, 43, has been arrested 21 times since the early 1990s, with charges ranging from burglary, assault and weapons charges.
Ellison, 33, also has a lengthy rap sheet, including armed carjacking, indecent exposure robbery and drugs charges.
Williams, 27, only has one arrest on his record by Palm Springs PD in 2011 for robbery with a firearm.
The three suspects are in federal custody in Palm Beach County.
The FBI said they cannot respond to WPTV’s requests for comment, as the investigation is ongoing.