Woman recognizes ex-husband in robbery video on Facebook, turns him in
MONTEVIDEO -- A woman saw grainy surveillance footage posted on Facebook of an armed robbery at the Montevideo Casey's convenience store and thought it looked an awful lot like her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
MONTEVIDEO - A woman saw grainy surveillance footage posted on Facebook of an armed robbery at the Montevideo Casey's convenience store and thought it looked an awful lot like her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
He had just taken her shopping and to the casino with newly acquired gobs of cash.
The woman went to police with the man's BB-gun, which looked similar to one brandished in the surveillance video.
Days later, Montevideo police arrested Thomas Joel Owen Graff, 41, for his suspected role in the Nov. 27 armed robbery.
Graff was sentenced last month in Chippewa County District Court to 56 days of work release, 80 hours of community service, and five years of supervised probation.
He was originally charged with felony aggravated robbery and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon.
Graff asserted an Alford plea March 22--which is recorded as a guilty plea, but does not require the defendant to admit to the facts of any crime.
As a result of that plea agreement, the felony aggravated robbery charge was downgraded to felony theft. The second-degree assault charge was dismissed.
Per probation requirements, Graff must obtain and maintain full-time employment, complete an online theft course and is barred from entering casinos or any Casey's gas station.
He is alleged to have received over $1,200 in small bills from the cash register and safe of the South First Street Casey's, which sits just half a mile from the Montevideo Police Station.
The surveillance footage shows a man, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, black gloves and a black facemask, enter the store and wait until a clerk appears behind the counter.
The robber then pointed the gun at the clerk with one hand, pointing the other hand at the cash drawer.
The clerk handed over cash from the drawer and safe. No silent alarm was activated, but 911 was called.
Graff's soon-to-be ex-wife told police she became suspicious when Graff came to her home and took her shopping at Wal-Mart in Montevideo on Thanksgiving Day and, shortly after, to Prairie's Edge Casino near Granite Falls, according to the criminal complaint.
He purchased $150 worth of items using small bills at Wal-Mart, and exchanged numerous $1 bills for $20 bills during the visit to the casino.
When she asked about the number of small bills, Graff told her he had won them the previous day at Prairie's Edge Casino.
After she returned to her home, the woman viewed the Facebook posting of the armed robbery. She told police that the suspect on the video matched the clothing, brand of sneakers and physical characteristics of Graff, including her belief that he is left-handed.
The suspect on the video brandished the handgun in his left hand. The suspect also wore a ski mask identical to one the woman said belonged to Graff, as well as black Skecher sneakers.
She noticed that the BB gun and sneakers had been moved from their usual location in her home.
An investigation by the Montevideo Police Department found no evidence on Prairie's Edge video surveillance tapes that Graff had been to the casino the day before Thanksgiving, but the tapes showed him to be there on Thanksgiving Day and exchanging small bills for larger denomination bills.