- Essex District Attorney’s Office
Media Contact for Lawrence Men Plead Guilty to Multi-State ATM Robbery Operation
Carrie Kimball Monahan, Director of Communications
Lawrence, MA — Three Lawrence men charged last summer on multiple counts of larceny, breaking and entering, conspiracy, and receiving stolen property in connection with a multi-state ATM robbery enterprise have pleaded guilty in Salem Superior Court, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett announced today.
David Barker, 39, Efrain Montero, 40, and Jonathan Santos, 35 have pleaded guilty to indictments charging them with the burglary and attempted burglary of thirteen ATMs and commercial businesses. The three conspirators pleaded guilty to charges relating to thirteen break-ins during the period of October, 2015 through August 2016, involving stolen property valued over $500,000. The prosecution and convictions were the result of a joint operation conducted by the Essex County District Attorney's Office, the Massachusetts State Police and numerous local police departments from throughout New England, dubbed "Operation Fast Break" due the consistent speed with which the conspirators would break into an ATM, locate the security system and compromise it.
“This investigation and prosecution were the result of an extraordinary collaborative effort by all of the law enforcement agencies involved,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “Criminals such as these defendants, who operate with skill and discipline are very difficult to bring to justice. By using cutting-edge investigative techniques and tools, my prosecutors and the investigators were able to build a substantial case, and charge these thirteen burglaries that may not otherwise have been solved. I commend the hard-work and dedication of all the officers and their respective agencies for their contributions to this case.”
Efrain Montero, 41, pleaded guilty on September 20, 2017, before Judge Kenneth Salinger to a 41 count indictment charging him with conspiracy, possession of burglarious tools, malicious destruction of property, larceny, theft of motor vehicles, receipt of stolen property, possession of a firearm, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced to five to seven years in state prison on October 30, 2017.
David Barker, 40, pleaded guilty on August 17, 2017, before Judge Kenneth Salinger to a 35 count indictment charging him with conspiracy, possession of burglarious tools, malicious destruction of property, larceny, theft of motor vehicles, receipt of stolen property, and money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced to six years in state prison on March 1, 2018.
Jonathan Santos, 35, pleaded guilty on March 6, 2017, before Judge Timothy Feeley, to a 2 count indictment charging him with conspiracy. After a disparate plea recommendation, where the Commonwealth sought incarceration in state prison, he was placed on a period of probation for two years.
In October of 2015, Essex District Attorney’s commenced an investigation after a report from Mansfield, Massachusetts police of a break-in at an Apple product retailer, where the stolen phones were being activated in the Lawrence area. The Essex DA’s Office began working with Mansfield Police to investigate the case. Over the course of the 10 months, as the suspects conducted more break-ins, including one in Wellesley supported by a fingerprint match, each local police department whose towns had been targeted by these criminals, joined in the investigation to share evidence, identify the pattern and build the case. The investigation culminated in the execution of search warrants in August 2016 at three locations where police seized $82,000 in currency, a 9mm firearm, and the tools, clothing and masks used by the defendants during the break-ins.
Had the case proceeded to trial, Assistant District Attorney Philip Mallard would have proven that the conspirators engaged in sophisticated ATM and commercial burglaries where they would scout target locations, and then use stolen work vans and power tools to facilitate their theft from ATMs and businesses. After they had selected an ATM or business, the conspirators would travel to the location in a stolen van, and use tools to gain access to the ATMs and businesses. Once inside, two of the conspirators wearing masks and dark clothing quickly compromised the alarm and security system, while other conspirators remained outside watchful of a police response. The conspirators would cut the wires to the security system, exit and wait nearby listening to police radio frequencies to determine if the alarm was successfully destroyed before it alerted law enforcement. If successful, they would reenter and steal the currency and products.
In total the criminal conspiracy to which the defendants pleaded guilty encompassed the following break-ins:
the Simply Mac Store at Mansfield, MA, on October 18, 2015;
the TD Bank ATM at Killington, VT, on November 7, 2015;
the TD Bank branch at Billerica, MA, on December 20, 2015;
the TD Bank ATM at Killington, VT, on February 13, 2016;
the Service Credit Union ATM at Lebanon, NH on February 14, 2016;
the Santander Bank ATM at Wellesley, MA, on March 13, 2016;
the ATM Company at Westborough, MA, on April 3, 2016;
the Rockland Trust ATM, at Hanover, MA, on April 22, 2016;
the Central One FCU ATM, at Shrewsbury, MA, on May 5, 2016;
the TD Bank ATM at Burlington, VT, on May 29, 2016;
the Northeast Credit Union, at Berwick, ME, on June 16, 2016;
the Franklin Savings Bank, at Tilton, NH, on July 18, 2016; and
the Merrimack County Savings Bank, at Concord, NH, on July 31, 2016.
The case was prosecuted by Essex Assistant District Attorneys Philip Mallard and A.J. Camelio. The Massachusetts State Police, Metro Gang Unit led the investigative team which consisted of local police departments from Andover, Billerica, Hanover, Haverhill, Lawrence, Mansfield, Shrewsbury, Wellesley and Westborough (Massachusetts); Concord, Lebanon, Pelham, and Tilton (New Hampshire); Berwick, Maine; and Burlington, Vermont. The New Hampshire State Police, the Belknap County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine and the Portland, Maine Field Office of the FBI also provided assistance.
Mr. Barker was represented by Attorney Patrick Regan. Mr. Montero was represented by Attorney Scott Gleason. Mr. Santos was represented by Attorney Peter Elikann.