Where is Heather Tallchief now? The subject of the ‘Heist’ is low
New Netflix docuseries Robbery explores three of the greatest heists in modern American history through the perspectives of the people who committed them. The show opens with the story of Heather Tallchief, who stole millions of cash from the Vegas casino when she was 21. She managed to escape capture for almost 12 years until 2005, when she entered a federal courthouse in Las Vegas and surrendered.
Tallchief is played by Lisa Lord via dramatizations on the show, and it’s unclear where she is in real life now. But at first, she was one of America’s most prominent fugitives. Through Buffalo News, Tallchief is Seneca and grew up in Buffalo, New York. Her parents divorced when she was two and she was raised by her father, who suffered from alcohol and substance use disorders. His upbringing was marked by “two bad parents,” his father admitted to CrimeReads. (In 2005, one of his lawyers stated Buffalo News that she still has family in the Buffalo area, but “has not been in contact with them for many years.” “)
Through The New York Times, Tallchief told investigators that because she was ostracized in school, she immersed herself in the punk rock scene and then struggled with substance abuse. She attended Williamsville South High School and moved around 1987. Subsequently, she earned a General Equivalency Diploma, then a Licensed Practical Nurse, which she used to work in an AIDS hospice in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to CrimeReads, patients described her as empathetic, but her mother surmised that seeing patients dying led Tallchief to “worry about money or people dying” in her own life.
Due to his substance use, Tallchief found it difficult to keep his job. According to Time, she met her alleged accomplice – the armored vehicle thief and convicted murderer Roberto Solis – after “hitting rock bottom”. He was over 20 years her senior and they met through a friend at a nightclub. At Solis’ suggestion, Tallchief moved to Las Vegas with very little money in 1993. She alleged to investigators that he had brainwashed her for weeks by showing her tapes that “opened you up.” ‘mind but made you more receptive to the suggestion’, according to the Time. According to Tallchief, it was Solis who convinced her to carry out the heist, and she followed his instructions “almost like a robot.” (The official criminal complaint does not say who organized the scheme, but describes the couple as having planned and executed it together).
Tallchief claimed Solis persuaded her to become a driver for Loomis Armored, where she was known to her colleagues as an “ideal employee,” according to Crime Reads. On October 1, 1993, as she pulled up to the Circus Circus Casino hotel, Tallchief took off with the truck she was driving and the nearly $ 3 million it contained. There was no GPS or tracking at the time, so Loomis couldn’t tell where she had been.
According to Tallchief’s account, she drove the truck to a garage she had rented under a false name and helped Solis load the money into boxes and suitcases. She claimed she had no idea what happened to the money afterward. “[Loomis] would never respond, ”Tallchief told investigators, the New York Times. “When it came up, he would say things like, ‘Don’t worry. I’m taking care of it. Its good. It’s certain. I have it under control.
The two escaped the United States in disguise, with Tallchief dressed as an old woman in a wheelchair. They settled in Amsterdam and had a son; Tallchief worked as a hotel maid. But Tallchief said Solis didn’t treat her well and that she didn’t want her son to live like a fugitive. So, on September 12, 2005, she returned to America, traveling on a British passport in the name of Donna Marie Eaton. After being arrested, she admitted her role in the crime and hoped that by selling her story in Hollywood, she could pay Loomis back and support her son. She said she hadn’t seen Solis in years and all the money was with him.
“It’s a lonely life, being a fugitive,” she said in her recorded confession, according to CrimeReads. “I certainly don’t go to book clubs, cake sales and the like… If you are mentally living in a prison, then what is a box, a room, restricted privileges?” It is nothing compared to what I have already experienced. I really feel like I’m freeing myself.
On March 30, 2006, Tallchief was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison and ordered to attempt to repay, for the remainder of her life, $ 2,994,083.83 in restitution to Loomis. She was released from prison in the summer of 2010 and has since kept a low profile. It is not known how much money she has been able to repay since then. Solis and the money were never found. If he is still alive today, he would be over 75 years old.