“I Did It”: Iron Man Bank Robbery Suspect Lakhram Mahadeo of Palm Coast, Is Arrested
FlaglerLive | August 8, 2013
Last Updated: 4:42 p.m.
Lakhram Mahadeo is an immigrant from South America, a 2005 Flagler Palm Coast High School Graduate, a U.S. Army veteran and a Realtor who worked with Palm West Realty and described Palm Coast as “America’s best kept secret.” (He did not renew his Realtor’s license in December.)
Wednesday afternoon, Mahadeo, 26, a resident of 10 Waystone Place in Palm Coast, was arrested at his home and charged with the so-called Iron Man bank robbery that took place at the Wells Fargo branch at 836 Belle Terre Parkway on June 20.
He confessed to police that he used a gun he had from the army, and a mask he bought at Walmart, to commit the robbery after his girlfriend threw him out of their house.
The suspect had been described as as short, about 5’4”, wearing a tan flight suit, tan boots, a black balaclava and the Iron Man mask, all of it caught on surveillance video. He’d entered the bank with a semi-automatic handgun and ordered everyone to the floor as he climbed on the counter and demanded money. He got away with $2,300, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
He was seen driving off in a maroon Honda Accord. The sheriff’s office does not say whether the license tag was eventually deciphered. But investigators got access to several surveillance cameras, possibly including red-light camera video. Mahadeo owns a maroon Accord, or at least did until July 22. That day, the Accord was repossessed.
Mahadeo had been having financial difficulties.
The repossession appears to have played a key role in unraveling the case for detectives.
At 5 p.m. Wednesday, detectives and deputies went to Mahadeo’s home on Wellstone Place, where he was with his girlfriend, Aygul Ryszhanova (the couple recently had a baby). Ryszhanova answered the door. Mahadeo was on the back patio working on his motorcycle. Cops were let in. While speaking with Mahadeo, he said he knew about the bank robbery at Wells Fargo, according to his arrest report. He then accompanied the cops to the sheriff’s Investigative Services Division. He agreed to speak without an attorney.
And he said: “I did it.”
Mahadeo asked if he could finish what he was doing and said he was willing to go to the Investigative Services Division to speak with detectives.
He said he still had the gun, jumpsuit and boots used in the robbery. He showed one of the investigators where the gun was stored, allowing the detective to retrieve it. In the garage, Mahadeo turned over the tan jumpsuit and boots. The interview then moved to the sheriff’s office, where he was read his Miranda rights.
There, according to his arrest report, Mahadeo said he’d been planning the bank robbery for a while, but that he initially had planned to rob the BB&T Bank in St. Augustine. He bought the Iron Man Mask at the Wal-Mart in Ormond Beach, and had the jumpsuit and gloves from a job he worked in Oklahoma. The balaclava and boots, as with the gun, he had from his time in the Army.
On June 20, he got into an argument with Ryszhanova, who kicked him out of their house, then at 8 Rymshaw Place. Mahadeo said he gathered most of his clothing and packed it into his Honda Accord and left the house, driving west on Rymfire Drive. He turned onto Red Mill, changed into the jumpsuit, boots, balaclava, goggles and Iron Man mask, and changed his license plate to a tag he’d stolen from the B-Section in Palm Coast.
He then described to investigators the exact route he took and the actions he carried out inside of the bank.
When he left the bank, he went to Flagler Estates, site of a growing number of suspicious and more grave cases of late, where he changed. He then left the state, but returned shortly after, only to again leave the state and return.
Mahadeo was charged with armed robbery and grand theft and taken to the Flagler County jail, where he’s being held on $100,000 bond. If it results in a conviction, the first-degree felony charge carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison.
“After leaving South America when I was thirteen,” he wrote on his Facebook page in May, “my family and I settled here because of the similar climate. I attended Indian Trails Middle School and Flagler Palm Coast High School (class of 2005). During the construction boom, I worked with Cole Electric; wiring new construction homes in Flagler County, times were truly good. Along with the rest of the country, Palm Coast went through a dark period and many including myself had to move to find work. With the recovery in full swing, people are working and moving back to Florida. The reasons that make this area appealing to many have increased in the past few years and will continue to bring people seeking year round sunshine, the beach, miles of bike path and hiking trails, cultural diversity, shopping, and dining.”
He was hopeful about the upswing in the housing industry, and declared that “America’s best kept secret is out.”
Until Wednesday, the worst on Mahadeo’s record were a few traffic tickets.