WILLIAMSON, IL (KTVI) - It’s a callous crime caught on camera: one man's medical emergency becomes another's chance at a quick buck.
Captain Mike Dixon with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department says it’s one of the most pathetic, disheartening crimes he’s ever seen. And over at the Rock Bottom Bar in Williamson, the bar owner and victim say the same thing.
It was a sudden and terrifying experience for Larry Lotter. “I felt fine, and then all at once, I took a drink of my beer, and I felt a real sharp pain, like someone sticking an ice pick in my chest.”
Larry hit the floor of the Williamson bar. Friends called 911, and quickly gathered around him to help. Bryan Kuegler, clearly pictured in the surveillance footage with dark hair and a solid white shirt, also hovered and appeared to be concerned. But the reality was far from it.
Lotter explains, “As the EMT’s were getting ready to come in, is when he reached down and grabbed my wallet and stuck it in his pants.”
Dixon adds, “And then as the victim left the establishment, he went into the restroom, returned, and threw the victim’s wallet on the floor.” But not before taking two $50 bills. And if that weren’t enough, “He tried to buy the girl that Larry was with that day a drink with the money he took,” recalls bar owner Mike Lovsey.
The heart attack was luckily a false alarm, and thanks to the crystal clear surveillance, Lotter was quickly able to identify the suspect. He happened to put brakes on Kuegler’s car just over a month ago.
“Real shocked,” says Lotter, “The night I went home, I could hardly sleep because it bothered me so bad.”
Lovsey adds, “He was trying to play Good Samaritan, then turned around and ripped the guy off at the same time. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe someone would do something like that.”
Now, Kuegler is behind bars in Madison County, charged with Felony Theft from Person. If convicted, he'll likely serve two to five years in prison. Dixon says, “Rarely have I seen somebody literally steal from what they believe to be a dying man. It’s pretty pathetic.”
According to the victim, doctors said he did not have a heart attack, and it’s possible that the suspect slipped something into his drink. Investigators say Kuegler has a long criminal history, with offenses including theft, domestic battery and narcotics.