2 men charged in rash of ATM’s stolen from businesses
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Two Newark men face charges in connection with 10 ATM crash and grab incidents in northern New Jersey.
Essex County prosecutors say the arrests of 38-year-old Levell Burnett and 32-year-old Mark Smith culminated a six-month investigation by a joint task force comprised of federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies.
Both men are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit burglary, theft of an ATM and criminal mischief. The arrests were made Tuesday and announced on Wednesday.
Burnett is charged in all 10 incidents, while Smith is charged in nine. Authorities say the incidents occurred between last October and January of this year at businesses in Newark, Bloomfield, Maplewood, Jersey City and Kearny.
In most of the cases, the men allegedly used a pickup truck to crash into the front of the business and then took the ATM machine. Authorities say the machines were taken to locations in Newark on Frelinghuysen Avenue and Route 78.
It wasn't known Wednesday if either man has retained an attorney or when their initial court appearances would be held.
Prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing, but didn't say if further arrests were expected.
"It has been extremely difficult on local businesses as a result of the damage caused by criminals' thefts of ATMs." Newark Police Director Eugene Venable said. "The task force had a daunting task before them in attempting to catch the actors involved. Through diligence and excellent police work, detectives have captured two suspects wanted in connection to several of these thefts. I thank the team for their persistence.".