$30,000 Mistake: Using SEPTA as a Getaway Bus - NBC4 Washington

$30,000 Mistake: Using SEPTA as a Getaway Bus

Police say the man stole money and hopped SEPTA for his great escape

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    Stephen Collins, 30, of Philadelphia, allegedly stole more than $30,000 from the cash room of the Lord & Taylor department store in King of Prussia, Pa. Monday.

    One accused criminal learned a SEPTA bus is never a good getaway vehicle, especially if you've got $30,000 bulging out of beach bags.

    Stephen Collins, 30, busted into the cash room at the Lord & Taylor department store in the King of Prussia Mall Monday and filled two beach bags with the money, said Upper Merion police.

    Collins, who is a former employee of the upscale department store, was fired less than two weeks ago for shoplifting, according to police. After picking up the thirty grand, he pressured the woman working in the vault to reveal the location of even more cash. She refused -- a move which prompted the Philadelphia man to punch her in the mouth, police said.

    "This crime displays an element of inside knowledge," Montgomery County D.A. Risa Vetri Ferman said. "Knowledge of operating procedures and perhaps knowledge of the weaknesses or deficiencies in the system."

    After raiding the cash room, Collins calmly made his way to the mall's transportation center and boarded a bus for Philadelphia, said investigators. Police decided to stop and search the departing bus. When officers walked onto the Route 124 bus they not only found the man matching the robber's description, but also spotted two bags overflowing with cash under his seat.

    Collins was taken into custody and charged with robbery and related offenses. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

    NBC Philadelphia reporter Deanna Durante asked Collins why he boarded the SEPTA bus, to which he sarcastically replied: "I was gonna go meet you."

    As for the woman who was beaten, she is doing well and recovering at home, her father said.