- Leonard Ortiz and Ramdeo Balliram, both residents of Queens, have been arrested and charged for a string of ATM robberies in the Bronx.
- The suspects are accused of stealing over $1 million from small businesses’ ATMs over two years, using “sophisticated tools” to break in.
- If convicted, Ortiz and Balliram face up to 15 years in prison and are currently out on $100,000 bail with imposed curfew and location monitoring.
Leonardo Ortiz (52) and Ramdeo Balliram (44) were arrested and charged Friday in a long string of ATM robberies in the Bronx (NYC) totaling $1 million.
Both men, residents of Queens (NYC), are charged with conspiracy to commit bank robbery and face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. They are suspected of stealing cash on 23 occasions over the course of nearly two years, prosecutors allege.
Between March 2021 and January 2023, Balliram and Ortiz traveled from Queens to The Bronx at night or early morning, usually over the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge in two cars, to enter small businesses such as bodegas and restaurants after hours using “sophisticated tools” and commit the robberies, according to court documents cited by the Daily News.
After breaking into the stores, the robbers would force open the ATM and steal all the cash inside. They would spend “several hours at each robbery site while attempting to force open each ATM with sophisticated tools,” Detective Kenneth Hines wrote in documents accompanying the indictment.
As part of their criminal routine, they knew which ATMs were being replenished with cash by following an armored van and attacking them. On certain occasions, when the robbers could not open the ATM and remove its contents, they would take the entire machine, according to court documents.
The duo is also accused of stealing cash registers, cigarettes, alcohol and lottery tickets as they entered the businesses. Authorities say they also targeted video recording equipment to cover their tracks.
“As alleged, the defendants carried out a calculated scheme over the years, stealing more than $1 million from ATMs at businesses throughout The Bronx,” Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement quoted by station 1010 Wins.
They were released on $100,000 bail yesterday after an arraignment in Manhattan Federal Court. The judge imposed a curfew on both of them and location monitoring. All charges are merely accusations.
The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Shoplifting in New York is at an all-time high, including violent attacks on employees and owners who shoplifters and homeless people have confronted. But many of those arrested are on the run and, if caught, are soon released thanks to penal reform, complain victims, and NYPD officers.
New York’s rampant violence is not spared by banking agencies, which saw a 42% rise in robberies in 2022.