July 23, 2013

All in the Family

Part 1: Husband, Wife, and Son Stole Millions from Armored Cars

Stacks of Seized Cash

The Cabello family stole millions of dollars during their decade-long crime spree.

A shaken driver handcuffed to the door of his armored car. Millions of dollars stolen. An investigation involving turncoat family members, and an indictment handed down just days before the statute of limitations ran out.

It may sound like the plot of a Hollywood thriller, but that’s how the long saga of the Cabello family unfolded—in a crime spree spanning more than a decade that finally landed Archie and Marian Cabello and their son, Vincent, behind bars.

It all began in 1995 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while Archie was employed as an armored car driver. One day, he arranged for his wife to meet him on his route, where he handed her a bag containing more than $157,000. He later told the police that the money had simply disappeared.

Three years later, the couple recruited their son into the family crime business. Vincent took a job working as a vault clerk for an armored truck company. One night, Archie—wearing a hat and fake beard and using a BB gun as a prop—staged a robbery at the company during his son’s work shift, cuffing Vincent’s hands and legs. While Vincent played the victim, Archie made off with $730,000 in cash. Authorities never charged anyone in the 1995 or 1998 thefts.

The Cabellos moved to Portland, Oregon in 1999, and father and son took jobs working for security or delivery companies. The family seemed to lay low until 2005, when Archie took a new job as an armored truck driver. By December of that year—believing they had gotten away with the two previous robberies—the family was ready for another heist.

On December 6, 2005, Archie was driving an armored car loaded with $7 million in cash, including two shrink-wrapped bricks containing $1.5 million each. Using disposable cell phones provided by Marian, father and son arranged a meeting point, where Archie passed off both bundles of cash—$3 million in hundred-dollar bills—to Vincent, who concealed it in a duffel bag. Playing the victim this time, Archie drove the armored truck several blocks away, handcuffed himself to the truck door, and flagged down a passerby to call police. Vincent, meanwhile, made his getaway and stashed the loot in a safe deposit box in Bellevue, Washington.

Local authorities and FBI investigators called in to help with the case immediately became suspicious when they learned that Archie and Vincent had been “victims” of similar crimes in Milwaukee six years earlier. A search warrant executed about a week after the Portland heist turned up credit cards and cash, but not enough to connect the family to the robbery.

“We knew the Cabellos weren’t being honest about what happened,” said Special Agent Kenneth O’Connor, who worked the case from our Portland Division, “but initially, there was not a lot of evidence linking them to the crime.” After months of surveillance and investigation, the case grew cold.

But thanks to the diligence of our investigators, along with the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland, the Cabellos’ luck was about to run out…

Next: Following the money.