Crime and Courts

Police Bust ATM Burglary Ring That Hit 19 Bodegas Across NYC: DA

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An ATM burglary ring that hit 19 bodegas across New York City was busted by police, according to the NYPD, with half a dozen suspects now facing charges.

The heists, many of which were caught on camera, had been going on from June 2022 through Jan. 2023, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. The robberies allegedly stretched from Brooklyn to the Bronx and Queens.

In one surveillance video from the Oso Minimart in Bushwick from late August, men clad in gloves and facemasks were seen dragging a smashed ATM into a waiting red Honda Odyssey parked on the sidewalk just after 6 a.m.

"These machines are full of money like piggy banks often an excess of $10,000," said DA Gonzalez. "It shows you how brazen these guys are. It's 6 o'clock in the morning, they're holding an ATM, shoving it into their vehicle. They’re very organized. They know what they’re doing they get in and out of these locations quickly."

Those charged allegedly set out to steal ATMs from various stores, using apartments in Clinton Hill and East New York to prepare for the burglaries. Then, during the heist, the alleged thieves would monitor police scanners to see if police were approaching so they could get away before law enforcement arrived.

In one instance, a suspect was arrested for possession of a police scanner — and then a few days later was arrested again with two stolen ATMs. As he attempted to flee apprehension, he drove right into an occupied, unmarked police car, injuring two officers.

That arrest did not stop the heists, however. On Jan. 18, brothers Alex and Francisco Torres were with two others as they led police on a high-speed chase past John F. Kennedy Airport, which eventually ended with their van crashing into a barrier at LaGuardia Airport. They were trying to escape arrest after burglarizing a bodega in South Richmond Hill, police said.

Six suspects were charged, though four were seen handcuffed and hauled into court Tuesday on a slew of charges including burglary, grand larceny and conspiracy. One who was charged in another case refused to come to court on Tuesday, and will be ordered to appear in court at a later date.

"We were onto them for a while. They were crew, these aren’t kids. These are grown man. I’ve been doing this for a long time. It takes a lot of work to track these cases, they are professional," Gonzalez said.

The judge set bail on most of the suspect because they have a history of trying to evade arrest.

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