Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Theron Vance, age 22, of Rogers, was sentenced to 100 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release on one count of Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping and one count of Kidnapping, Aiding and Abetting. Vance was found guilty of both counts following a two day jury trial on March 18, 2015. The Honorable Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Fayetteville.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “With today’s sentence, we hope the victim in this case can rest comfortably knowing that justice has been served to those who terrorized her. Vance and his co-defendants spent four months planning an elaborate scheme to kidnap the victim, which they then carried out in order to prevent her from testifying against one of them in a pending criminal case. I commend our local and federal law enforcement partners for their terrific work in this case. We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who commit violent crimes in order to make the Western District of Arkansas a safer place for all.”
“A violent kidnapping and impersonation of a FBI agent will not be tolerated and this is reflected in Vance’s sentencing today,” stated Assistant Special Agent in Charge David Shepard, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Little Rock. “Our communities will now be safer thanks to the diligent work of our partners, the United States Attorney’s Office, and the Bentonville and Dallas Police Departments.”
According to evidence presented during the trial, On June 14, 2014, the Bentonville Police Department received a 911 call from an employee at the Walmart Supercenter that a woman had been kidnapped. Once officers arrived on scene they were able to determine the victim entered the restroom at Walmart and handed an employee a note informing them that she had been kidnapped from Dallas, Texas by her ex-boyfriend Michael Roberts. By the time officers arrived at Walmart, Roberts had fled the scene. According to an interview of the victim, the previous night between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. she was walking into her apartment in Dallas, Texas, when she was attacked from behind by Michael Roberts and physically assaulted. The defendant, Theron Vance, was present and assisted Roberts by acting as the lookout. Roberts forced the victim into her apartment and began restraining and choking her when Vance entered the apartment and identified himself as an FBI agent. The victim was told she could either go with the two men or she would be killed. The victim cooperated and packed a bag with her belongings. She was also told to write a note to her roommate explaining her disappearance. She did so, but also left another note in the refrigerator that said “call 911.” The victim was then transported against her will to the Western District of Arkansas in Bentonville by Roberts and Vance. Prior to leaving the Dallas area, defendant Vance took the victim’s phone and broke it on the sidewalk, making it inoperable. On the way to Bentonville the victim advised they stopped in Eufaula, Oklahoma at a gas station, where she left another note in the restroom identifying the vehicle in which she was being transported (this note was later recovered by Oklahoma Police). The victim was brought to the defendant’s residence located at 807 Southwest Krug in Bentonville during the early morning hours of June 14th. Later that day the victim was taken to Walmart where the employee was notified that she had been kidnapped.
While interviewing the victim officers noted that her lip appeared to be busted on the inside of her mouth and she had a large bruise on her right forearm. According to the victim, she was told by Roberts and Vance that she had been kidnapped because they did not want her to testify against Roberts in a pending criminal case in Texas and that they were going to keep her until the proceedings were over. The victim was able to positively identify defendant Vance as one of the individuals that kidnapped her and transported her from Dallas, Texas to Bentonville, Arkansas against her will.
As the Bentonville Police Department was investigating the case, Detectives with the Dallas Police Department searched the victim’s apartment and located the two notes and discovered a blood stain on the carpet. Bentonville Detectives then executed a search warrant at defendant Roberts’ residence, where they located the victim’s bloody clothing.
On June 16, 2014, Vance was located and arrested. Subsequent to being advised of and waiving his Miranda rights he admitted his role in the kidnapping. Specifically, Vance admitted that approximately four months prior to the kidnapping he and Roberts began planning; Vance admitted that a week prior to the abduction, he and Roberts drove to Dallas to scout the area; Vance admitted to wearing a fake FBI badge during the abduction and breaking the victim’s cell phone so they would not be tracked. In addition, Vance disclosed to investigators the location of several items used in the kidnapping, including a blonde wig, razor blades, zip ties and a book on human anatomy. These items were subsequently recovered by investigators. Furthermore, Vance’s vehicle was used to transport the victim from Texas to Arkansas.
Vance’s co-defendants, Michael Roberts, age 25, of Bella Vista, and Jason Petit, age 25, of Fayetteville, were previously sentenced in March. Roberts pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping on November 3, 2014, and was sentenced to 120 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. Petit also pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Kidnapping on October 21, 2014, and was sentenced to 48 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
This case was investigated by the Bentonville Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the Dallas Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney David Harris and Assistant United States Attorney Kim Davis prosecuted the case for the United States.