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Locked and Loaded

Anthony and Luke's excellent adventure.

They knew it couldn't be that easy to rob a bank of that much money, so they decided to get out of town. They took another cab to the Greyhound station in downtown Denver but found that no more buses were leaving that night, so they grabbed a bite at Burger King and contemplated their options. Home or Mexico looked like the way to go, so they called another taxi to take them to Denver International Airport, where they inquired about one-way flights. The attendant explained that only round trips were available, and none of those would be leaving until the following morning.

The two cooled their heels in a hotel close to the airport, then headed back to DIA for a 9:15 a.m. flight to Puerto Vallarta, unaware that overnight the FBI had sent out a bulletin with their photos. The officer who'd busted the boys earlier for shooting out windows recognized the pellet guns on the bank's surveillance tapes (the robbers were masked), and with witnesses reporting that the culprits had Australian-sounding accents, it didn't take long for the Vail police to settle on the prime suspects. They followed their suspicion to Pepi's, where they learned that Prince had gotten a new snowboarding pass that day. They then discovered that Carroll and Prince had both had their passes scanned at the lift line near the bank within minutes of the robbery.

Back at DIA, Prince and Carroll were beginning to panic. They still didn't know how much they had, but they figured it was too much to carry onto an airplane. So Carroll crammed 61 $100 bills and 76 $20 bills into his back pocket, while Prince shoved wads of cash into his money belt; they left a backpack stuffed with $26,000 in a trash can outside level six of the airport.

But when an employee checked their IDs and recognized Prince's name from the FBI bulletin, they were taken to a back room for interrogation. After that, the gig was up: Prince and Carroll both confessed. They pleaded guilty in June to robbing the WestStar Bank of $132,000. When they were sentenced on September 22, Carroll got five years in jail and Prince got four and a half; the thieves were also ordered to pay back $21,657.78 that the authorities couldn't recover.

"We see an increase in our crime toward the end of ski season," says Vail police spokeswoman Susan Douglas. "Usually the perpetrators are leaving town and they don't have the money, so they try to get the money."

Last month, the boys were sitting in Teller County Jail; neither they nor family members visiting from Australia would talk about the crime.

Prince and Carroll had had such high hopes for their time in America -- but it looks like it's all downhill from here.

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