on a series of Cleveland police raids and arrests this morning, all connected to an organized "ring" of ATM "smash-and-grab" crimes committed over the past few months. Two men were charged today for their roles in a Sept. 19 incident in University Circle; a third man was arrested last week for "engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity." All have ties to the Wade Park gang.
Investigators have connected the gang to more than 50 "smash and grab" crimes around the city — incidents that see criminals crash a van (often stolen) into a storefront and then steal the ATM within.
If recent headlines make it seem like the Year of the Smash And Grab, well, that's not far from the truth.
Today's raids follow a separate investigation that led to 11 men being charged with those sorts of crimes back in August. In that indictment, a whopping 74 pages of records reveal how the men carefully plotted 10 runs across five counties over the previous year. All told, the group garnered "hundreds of thousands of dollars."
As Prosecutor Timothy McGinty pointed out at the time, these crimes are not simply financial; the method behind the thefts was often quite dangerous. ("We were greatly worried that someone was going to be killed," he said at the time.)
In a feature on the rise of ATM thefts, Time reported
that most machines hold anywhere from $10,000 to $200,000.
Cleveland.com's Adam Ferrise