Man who robbed Eureka Springs couple faces 60 years in prison
Larry Raifsnider, the man who robbed a Eureka Springs couple, James and Margaret Noury, by holding them at gunpoint at a Benton County mall, agreed in Benton County Circuit Court to spend 60 years in prison rather than face a possible life sentence at trial this week.
Raifsnider was transported to Benton County earlier this year from a California prison to face kidnapping and aggravated robbery charges in the Noury abduction, and another involving a Gateway couple.
The Noury abduction charge stemmed from an October 2003 incident in which Raifsnider and an accomplice lured the Nourys to a small mall in Benton County on the premise of purchasing their travel trailer.
Instead, the couple was confronted by gunmen wearing ski masks and camouflage clothing who demanded information about their finances and $75,000. Margaret Noury was handcuffed and both Nourys had their eyes taped over and were tied up. Their assailants departed after hearing a car pull up.
Raifsnider was also charged in a December 2003 case for kidnapping a Gateway couple from their home and leaving the woman duct taped in her car for hours while her husband was forced to withdraw money from their bank accounts.
That same year, Raifsnider was wanted by Carroll County authorities for the theft of checks from the Ward residence, on County Road 837, near the Denver community, burning down the house to cover his crime, and attempting to steal more than $100,000 from their bank account.
He was eventually arrested in another state and sentenced for kidnapping and transporting a Kansas couple over the state line.
According to Carroll County Investigator Ralph Gordon, Raifsnider was served a warrant in 2004 for theft of property, three counts of forgery, criminal mischief and residential burglary in the Ward case.
He said Raifsnider couldn't be charged with arson because investigators couldn't prove arson and Raifsnider was charged with felony criminal mischief instead.
Gordon said Raifsnider told Benton County authorities he broke into the Ward house, stole the checks and knocked over a space heater, which started the fire.
Gordon said there was no space heater in the home and investigators found four points of origin for the fire. "He did not knock over a space heater," Gordon said. "He set it to cover up the theft."
After the fire, Gordon said Raifsnider wrote three checks totaling more than $100,000 on the Wards' account, deposited the checks into an account he set up at an area bank using stolen identification, and attempted to withdraw the funds from the bank's branch office in Rogers.
His attempt was thwarted by bank officials who suspected fraud and told him to return at an appointed time when the funds would be available, Gordon said. Instead, police were waiting but Raifsnider didn't show.
Raifsnider was identified through the bank's digital surveillance images, Gordon said.
At one time, Raifsnider was featured on "America's Most Wanted."
There was also a task force comprised of Carroll and Benton county investigators, U.S. Marshals, FBI and Secret Service, all looking for Raifsnider.
He was reportedly a master of disguise with a dozen names and a criminal history 98 pages long.