Nick Beram did everything he could to disguise himself while robbing five area banks while armed with a stun gun. During the crimes, he wore sunglasses, a dark-hooded jacket and a white surgical or dust mask.
But he didn't bother to disguise his truck -- and that's why he's been sentenced to a quarter-century in stir as the bandit dubbed "Sparky."
The first time Beram's name appeared in news stories associated with illicit activities came back in 2007. According to the Denver Post, Beram posed as a property manager in ads posted on Craigslist and Backpage.com (the latter owned by Village Voice Media, Westword's parent company). He then met with potential renters, usually at area coffee shops, and pitched apartments sight unseen -- but before agreeing to walk them through the properties, he required that they give him a $250 deposit for a background check. Once he received this dough, however, he vanished.
Who would fall for such a scam? At least 29 people, by the Greenwood Village Police Department's count.
Crystal Dean, public information officer for the Greenwood Village Police Department, confirms that this Nick Beram and Sparky are one and the same -- an update from our initial post. His charges circa 2007 included theft over $1,000, computer crime and criminal impersonation.
Nearly three years later, Beram came to the Denver Police Department's attention after cops received an FBI dispatch about a robbery at the Bank of the West branch of East Evans. As detailed in the statement of probable cause on view below, a man wearing the aforementioned disguise and latex gloves approached a teller at the facility armed with a stun gun, which he activated, causing a spark, to let her know it wasn't a mere prop. He then told the teller to give him "100s, no bait and no dye packs." After the teller complied, he told her and a co-worker, "You have ten seconds to go to the back," then left the building and drove away in a four-door Toyota Tacoma pickup, silver in color, with a black bed liner.
Four other banks in the area had been robbed during the previous few months by a similarly clad man with a stun gun -- and in three of those cases, a silver Tacoma was spotted. A few days later, a Denver cop noticed just such a vehicle driving not far from one of the banks and called in the plates. He soon discovered that the truck was registered to Beram, who had an outstanding traffic warrant in his name.
After leaving a message for Beram on his cell phone, an FBI agent showed up at his place. The person who answered the door -- presumably his wife -- told the agent Beram had left, but nervously agreed to allow a search of the home. Before long, the agent came upon a black duffel bag featuring latex gloves and masks like the ones worn by Sparky. What were they for? The individual insisted that these items had been purchased because of fears over bird flu and Y2K.
Nice save -- but a temporary one, because Beram was found shortly thereafter hiding in his daughter's bedroom closet.
Beram refused to allow the search to continue, but a warrant overruled him. Before long, officers found plenty of cash, hidden in places like a hollowed-out dictionary and a kitchen drawer, as well as a telltale stun gun.
In the end, Beram pleaded guilty to bank robbery and was sentenced to 25 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. He's also been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $71,179.
If only he was free, he could try raising the funds by putting an ad on Craigslist.
Look below to see a larger version of Beram's mug shot and the aforementioned statement of probable cause.
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