Thieves Will Never be Charged in Rutland Heist - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Thieves Will Never be Charged in Rutland Heist

Rutland, Vermont - February 6, 2009

The armored car heist in Rutland in 2002 netted the crooks nearly $2 million.

It was the largest robbery in Vermont history and one that's still unsolved.

The gunmen handcuffed two employees, forced them to open the vault and then disappeared without a trace. The loot was gone too.

"Most people will look at this case going they got away with it. They're lucky," said Cheryl Hanna, a legal expert from the Vt. Law School.

Investigators followed leads for years and tips continue to come in.

But the robbers can never be charged-- not with federal bank robbery or even armed robbery charges in Vermont-- because it's too late. Federal statute of limitations expire after 5 years. Vermont statute of limitations expire after 6 years.

Hanna says there are two primary reasons we give time limits on non-violent crimes.

"We want to make sure the evidence is good and the longer this goes on, the worse people's memories become and the harder it gets to gather evidence. That's particularly unfair for criminal defendants," she explained. "The other thing is, and this is an important issue, it forces the state to do its due diligence immediately. You can't let this case sit around and do nothing. So it's a call to the state for action."

For violent crimes, like murder, aggravated assault, and kidnapping, there is no statute of limitations. Perpetrators can be charged anytime after the crime.

But bank robbers beware-- you may not get off scot free. If they find you, tax evasion charges may be in your future.

"Death and taxes. You can't avoid death and you can't avoid taxes. So, bank robbers have to pay federal taxes just like the rest of us even if they got the money illegally. That's really been the way the federal government has got around the statute of limitations with these serious crimes that involve monetary issues," Hanna explained.

For some, the Rutland heist has become a legend of Hollywood proportion. And that makes sense on some levels. If you look back at some of the biggest mobsters-- they got away with many, many crimes. But tax evasion is what eventually caught up with them.

Darren Perron - WCAX News

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