SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Authorities say they have arrested a man who is believed to be an accomplice in a recent string of armed casino robberies in Sioux Falls.
Minnehaha County authorities arrested 39-year-old Eddy Freddy Lopez of Luverne, Minnesota, on three counts of robbery for allegedly being part of three casino robberies earlier this month.
Police said the Crown Casino near 26th Street and Minnesota Avenue was robbed at gunpoint on Sept. 6.
According to court documents, a Kia Forte with Delaware license plates was seen heading north on Spring Avenue away from the casino. Officers noticed a brake light was out and made a traffic stop at 18th Street.
Lopez was the driver of the car. An officer noticed an unused 9 mm shell laying on the front passenger's seat, and confirmed with an officer at the scene of the robbery that a shell left at the casino was the same.
The officer asked to search the vehicle.
After Lopez gave consent to search the vehicle, another officer saw him begin deleting contacts out of his cell phone. Police took the phone.
Officers stopped searching the vehicle until a search warrant could be issued.
The clerk at the casino confirmed that Lopez was not the man that robbed the casino. Officers interviewed Lopez, who said he was not involved in the robbery and knew nothing about it.
Lopez did not want to wait for the search warrant and left the scene. Officers did not have enough information to detain him.
Detectives found a backpack in the vehicle containing eight small, empty baggies and a digital scale. One of the baggies tested positive for meth.
Over the course of the investigation, authorities arrested 27-year-old Angel Provincial for robbing the Crown Casino, Deuces Casino and Rice Street Casino.
When a search warrant was issued on Lopez's cell phone, investigators found Facebook messages between him and Provincial, but nothing regarding the robberies.
The last message visible on the phone was a call to Provincial. Investigators connected the two as associates who talked on a regular basis.
After Provincial was arrested on Sept. 8, he was interviewed by detectives. He said Lopez proposed the idea of buying meth in California and bringing it back to South Dakota to sell.
In order to do that, Lopez said they should robbed some casinos, and Provincial agreed to the plan.
Provincial said Lopez gave him a gun and dropped him off at Deuces Casino on Sept. 2. After the robbery, Provincial gave the money and gun to Lopez.
He said Lopez again drove him to Rice Street Casino the next day and the same situation happened. They then drove down the street to the Kum & Go on Rice Street where Lopez went inside and bought food for them.
The two men then went to Lopez's home in Luverne for a short period of time, and then went to Grand Falls Casino in Iowa.
Police received surveillance video of Lopez in the gas station buying food, and of the two men at Grand Falls Casino arriving and leaving in Lopez's vehicle, the same one stopped just after the Crown Casino robbery.