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She Won Big at the Casino. Her Drive Home Was Terrifying

Authorities say Iowa man ran woman's car off road, stole the $18K she'd just won
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2022 12:03 PM CDT
She Won Big at the Casino. Her Drive Home Was Terrifying
People enter the Prairie Meadows Casino on June 15, 2020, in Altoona, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

What should've been a night of celebration turned into a night of terror for an Iowa woman who'd just won $18,000 at an Iowa casino. One suspect has since been arrested. According to a criminal complaint, 30-year-old Timothy Spencer of Berwick witnessed the woman hit it big early Tuesday with two separate jackpots at the Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona, reports the Des Moines Register. Court documents say that when the woman finally called it a night around 3am and left with her winnings stashed in her purse, security cameras spotted Spencer's car tailing hers.

About 15 minutes later, two vehicles approached her own in Des Moines, running her off the road, per the court filing. The filing alleges Spencer then got out of his vehicle, smashed the driver's-side window of the woman's car, and yanked out her purse, pointing a gun at her during the incident. While all that was happening, the woman told police, the male driver of the second vehicle was pounding on her passenger-side window. Thanks to the video surveillance, authorities say they were able to track Spencer down and take him into custody.

Search warrants on Spencer revealed $3,000 in cash, a .38 Special revolver, and a bottle of oxy that wasn't prescribed to him, per WATE. Spencer denied to the police that he'd robbed the woman, instead claiming the money found in his possession was from his own winnings at the casino a few weeks back. Spencer has been charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree theft, and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, among other charges. He's being held at Polk County Jail. KCCI reports that an arrest of the driver of the second vehicle may be imminent. The woman was said to be uninjured, though it's not clear how much of her money was ultimately recovered. (More Iowa stories.)

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