Money from armored truck robbery still missing


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ST. THOMAS - The mystery continues as to where $33,550 of Kmart's stolen money has gone.

Somewhere between Kmart and the Oswald Harris Court housing community across the street, the money went missing during an armed robbery Tuesday afternoon, and it has not been seen since.

The V.I. Police Department said Friday that the robbery still is under investigation, though police had no further details about the robbery or about the missing money.

Lockhart Gardens Kmart store manager Kevin Bryan said Friday that he could not answer questions about the incident or about the money.

"We can't talk about it. I'm sorry," he said.

Dexter Cosmo, regional public relations director for Kmart, could not be reached Friday for comment.

Whether Kmart's money is insured, and whether they have their own investigation going on as to the whereabouts of the money, remains a mystery.

The case is even more puzzling because the suspect did not get very far, so the money could not have gotten far either.

Richard Hodge Jr. was arrested less than an hour after the armed robbery just before 3 p.m. Tuesday in the crowded Lockhart Gardens parking lot.

Hodge is charged with attempted first-degree murder; using an unlicensed firearm during a crime of violence; first-degree robbery; first-degree assault; and reckless endangerment.

He is accused of shooting two security guards from Ranger American Armored Services at 2:47 p.m. in front of Furniture Inn and then fleeing with a money bag, across Centerline Road and into the Oswald Harris Court housing community.

The robber had two people pursuing him and the brazen robbery was carried out in front of dozens of witnesses.

One of the people pursuing him was an off-duty police officer, and the other was one of the wounded security guards, who had been shot with one bullet through both legs.

However, the pursuers lost sight of robber, and it has not been reported whether the robber still had the money when he eluded those chasing him.

When V.I. police surrounded Hodge, the money was nowhere to be found.

Hodge refuses to provide a statement to police.

He is being held at the V.I. Bureau of Corrections on bail of $200,000, which Hodge must pay in full or provide property of an equal value. If he does make bail, Hodge will be required to wear an electronic monitor and remain under house arrest, with the exception that he can make trips to visit My Brother's Workshop.

Hodge has been working with My Brother's Workshop, which is a program that helps teach carpentry, construction and other skills to young men who have been convicted of crimes.

It is unclear whether Hodge will be able to continue his work with the program.

Hodge's arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 19 in V.I. Superior Court.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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