“Robbing any type of business — especially a brazen armed robbery of an armored vehicle in broad daylight — is a serious federal offense that can carry stiff penalties,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said in a statement. “And here, the alleged robbery precipitated a shootout on a busy city block that endangered many innocent bystanders. It is remarkable that nobody was struck and killed.”
Jerry Collins, 40, the alleged getaway driver, and Tyree Lamont Holmes, 28, who allegedly dropped a money bag and fired on the guards while fleeing, were indicted on armed robbery and firearms charges. They allegedly targeted a Garda armored truck on the 3500 block of Market Street on the morning of Aug. 1, 2019.
Collins was arrested by the FBI last week, while Holmes was arrested by Philadelphia police in February. Both defendants are from Philadelphia. A second, unnamed gunman remains at large, McSwain’s office said.
Holmes was detained pending trial, while Collins is in custody and scheduled to appear in federal court for a detention hearing Tuesday. Lawyers for Holmes and Collins couldn’t immediately be reached for comment late Monday.
The mid-morning violence was like a movie shootout, witnesses said at the time. Holmes and the unidentified suspect — both wearing masks and gloves, one armed with a Glock 17 semiautomatic handgun and the other with an assault rifle — got out of a Chevrolet Trailblazer that parked behind the armored truck, according to the indictment.
As one of the guards removed three black bags containing $434,000 cash, Holmes and his accomplice approached, pointed their guns at him, and announced a robbery while Collins waited in the driver’s seat of the Trailblazer, the indictment says.
Holmes had allegedly grabbed the bags of money and was attempting to get back into the vehicle when two guards drew their guns and began shooting at the robbers, who fired back. During the shootout, investigators said, Holmes dropped the bags and ran, while the second robber got into the Trailblazer with Collins and they drove off.
Stacks of money tumbled from the bags and remained on the sidewalk while officers processed the crime scene.
“This was a risky armed robbery carried out on a dense and active block in University City,” said Michael J. Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “The robbery crew showed up armed to the teeth to accost Garda personnel, prompting a barrage of gunfire.”
The perpetrators, Driscoll said, “put countless innocent people in danger by allegedly planning and carrying out this daylight gunpoint heist. It’s imperative all involved are held accountable.”