NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for ATMs have been stolen in heists across the city, and Wednesday, some of the people who prosecutors say pulled it off were in court.
The four Brooklyn men stood in front of the judge Wednesday afternoon facing grand larceny charges.
Their targets? The cash used to stock ATMs. The scheme reads like something out of a movie.
William Jackson, Lance Spearman, Jamel Cooper and Sherrod Coleman yelled obscenities at the media as they were led into court, CBS2’s Tara Jakeway reports.
Inside, all four plead not guilty to an 81-count indictment. The charges include grand larceny, burglary and conspiracy.
Their elaborate scheme involved swiping the cash from cars owned by private companies en route to fill their ATMs at different spots throughout the city, like bodegas and laundromats.
Video from the District Attorney’s office captures one of those incidents. A white van is parked outside a gas station store, and while the courier is inside, a man in a hoodie opens the back door and removes a case of cash.
Moments later, he pulls up in a minivan, loads up the cash and takes off.
From January 2017 to July 2019, the crew robbed 15 locations across four boroughs. The spree through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx netted more than $1 million.
“There was a sledgehammer used to break into an armored car, there was all kinds of tricks, and I think that although this is considered a non-violent felony, it was scary. They were following the couriers to their homes. They were doing surveillance on their places of employment. They knew their routes,” Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.
Three others that did not appear Wednesday are facing charges connected to this scheme. Out of the four men that appeared Wednesday, two were re-arrested on unrelated charges and two were walked out on supervised release. They’re due back in court April 21.
One of their strategies was diversion. They would wait until the driver put the vehicle in park or idle, then they’d puncture a back tire. When the driver got out to inspect the problem, they’d grab the loot from inside and hop into a waiting getaway car.