Suspect tied to murder victim's Porsche found in NM

Robert Craig Sandman

Robert Craig Sandman

DULUTH -- Robert Sandman -- the suspect connected to the Porsche stolen last month from a Duluth murder scene -- was detained some 1,400 miles away after a drunken bender at a New Mexico casino, officials said.

Duluth police issued theft warrants for Sandman on April 4, six days after 57-year-old Donald Singer was found murdered inside his Montheath Pass garage. He has not been charged with murder but, thus far, is believed responsible for stealing Singer's 1988 Porsche 944; no other suspects have been named in the case.

Local authorities learned Friday that Sandman had already been arrested on April 7 in New Mexico, on unrelated and relatively innocuous charges. Extradition efforts have begun.

According to Lt. Keith Elder of the Sandoval County Sheriff's Department, Sandman was booked at 1 a.m. that day after an incident at the Casino Hollywood in San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., about halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Elder said casino security observed Sandman "being a nuisance" and escorted him outside. Shortly thereafter, authorities got a call reporting an intoxicated male wandering the parking lot, responded to the scene and detained Sandman.

Sandoval County authorities ran Sandman's name and discovered the outstanding warrants from Duluth. Elder said the wanted person alert came up only as a probation violation, which likely explains the delay in communication between departments.

"We have just learned about his arrest and have been in communication with authorities in New Mexico," Duluth Police Capt. Mark Hunter said Friday. "(They) are assisting us with follow up at this time."

It was unclear if Singer's Porsche was found with Sandman in New Mexico.

"I don't know what the status of the car is," Elder said. "That part of the investigation is still ongoing. I know they were actively looking for the Porsche this morning."

An exact cause of death for Singer has not been released.

Police have denied any direct connection between Singer and Elder, but, just two days before the former's body was found wrapped in a blanket and towel in his garage, the latter was released from a Georgia prison after serving time stemming from a violent relationship with a former girlfriend who lived down the street from Singer.

Officials have released few details from the murder scene, but reports did describe a broken backdoor window pane and an overwhelming bleach smell.