EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 25, 2013

AG Coakley: Valley based ATM theft operation busted

LAWRENCE - Sixteen people - nearly all with ties to the Merrimack Valley - have pleaded guilty in connection with an ATM and electronics theft operation that spanned across six counties and involved a six-year investigation, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office announced today.

The defendants, most of them from Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen, have received a range of sentences, from probation to 16 years in state prison. The guilty pleas were made over the last 21 months during an investigation involving the state police, FBI and local law enforcement agencies.

An investigation into a string of ATM break-ins by the Massachusetts State Police Gang Unit began in April 2007 and merged with a similar investigation being conducted by the FBI.

“These 16 defendants have all pleaded guilty for their participation in an extensive criminal operation that spanned six counties and involved numerous break-ins, burglaries, and larcenies,” Coakley said in a statement.

“The convictions we have obtained were the result of countless hours of diligent, painstaking investigative work combined with a commitment to bring these people to justice. It is rewarding to us and, we hope, also to the banks and people who were victimized, to announce these convictions, Colonel Timothy P. Alben, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, said in the statement.

“The convictions we have obtained were the result of countless hours of diligent, painstaking investigative work combined with a commitment to bring these people to justice. It is rewarding to us and, we hope, also to the banks and people who were victimized, to announce these convictions.”

The 16 individuals were charged in March of 2011 for their involvement in an ongoing scheme to commit numerous burglaries and break-ins across the state, including the robbery of $340,000 in cash from several ATMs. The crimes were committed in Essex, Hampshire, Norfolk, Middlesex, Franklin and Worcester counties.

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