Alleged ATM Bandits nabbed
Local man, woman arrested for similar crimes in Utah
Tuesday, May 17, 2005GALESBURG - The final two people who police believe were responsible for as many as 36 ATM thefts in this area have been arrested in Beaver County, Utah.
Galesburg Police Chief John Schlaf said Monday, "We feel, with the arrest of Saline and Lucas, the investigative work of the task force has been culminated."
On May 14, members of the eight-county task force were notified that Lucas and Saline were taken into custody by the Beaver County Sheriff's Department. Authorities there are conducting an investigation into the possible involvement of Lucas and Saline in recent ATM thefts in Utah
The warrant for Lucas charged him with two counts of burglary, two counts of criminal damage to property and one count of attempted theft and theft. Bond was set in the warrant at $500,000.
The warrant for Saline charges her with one count each of burglary, criminal damage to property and unlawful possession of a stolen vehicle. Bond was set
A second Abingdon man, Paul E. Miller, 35, 714 S. East St., was arrested in late December 2004 on a Henry County warrant charging him with two counts of burglary, two counts of criminal damage to property, two counts of attempted theft and one count of theft.
Schlaf also said other individuals now in custody for other crimes during that time may have been involved in the ATM thefts.
The first ATM thefts in Knox County took place in November 2003. In many of the cases, the machines were removed using a chain hooked to a pickup truck and the ATMs were put in the back of the stolen pickup. A number of stolen vehicles were abandoned in Knox County.
Police believe ATMs were stolen in Knox, Peoria, McDonough, Fulton, Mercer, Stark, Rock Island and Mercer counties.
A task force comprised of the Knox County Sheriff's Department, Galesburg Police Department, Illinois State Police District 7, McDonough County Sheriff's Department, Henry County Sheriff's Department, Henry County State's Attorney and the Knox County State's Attorney began to close in on suspects in this area.
In the early morning Dec. 12, 2004, police chased burglary suspects at high speeds after responding to an alarm at Mobil Mart, 341 W. Main St. A speeding Ford F-150 was chased on city streets, through Standish Park and the Knox College campus, before the driver was able to elude police in the 400 block of Monmouth Boulevard.
Shortly before midnight on Christmas 2004, police received a tip that Lucas was at the Best Western Prairie Inn. He was gone when police and sheriff's deputies arrived, but police said there was evidence in the room that might link Lucas to two other crimes, as well as his driver's license.
"We don't have a great deal of information about the spree out there (in Nevada and Utah)," Schlaf said, "but it sounds like they were doing similar crimes out it that area."
He said ATMs were hit allegedly by Lucas and Saline in the Utah counties of Millard, Sevier, Beaver and Iron.
KSL-TV in Salt Lake City was reporting "in all, more than $100,000 has been stolen over the past 18 months," Schlaf said.
As to whether Lucas and Saline will be extradited to Illinois, Schlaf said generally the arresting state finishes prosecution first before transferring the suspect.