Feds: ATM technician donned burqa before taking $168,000 from ma - KMSP-TV

Feds: ATM technician donned burqa before taking $168,000 from machine

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A security guard who disguised himself in a burqa was nabbed just moments after he stole $168,000 from an ATM he'd been hired to service, the Sun-Times is reporting.

Gildardo Lopez Jr., was still wearing the Muslim women's garment when he was arrested early Thursday outside a Chase Bank in La Grange, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

He had a walkie-talkie underneath the burqa, which he was using to communicate with a nearby accomplice, Douglas Pineda, it's alleged. Both men are from Chicago and are 31 years old.

Lopez was employed by Garda Cash Logistics as an ATM technician and was a union shop steward, the feds say. But on Tuesday and Wednesday he allegedly twice told a federal informant that he was upset that Chase was no longer going to use Garda's services, and that he planned to steal from the bank.

Lopez had keys to open up the ATM, and planned to call Garda after midnight, when nobody who recognized his voice would be working, for a single-use code that would allow him to disable the ATM's alarm, the informant told the feds.

And Lopez allegedly boasted the night before the robbery that he was going to “dress like an Arab woman” by “donning a burqa” so that he couldn't be identified on a security video.

On Wednesday night, he told the informant he planned to escape to the Dominican Republic with the help of a buddy in the TSA, it's alleged. Lopez said he would be assisted by a getaway driver he'd communicate with via a walkie-talkie, and that he wanted to buy a home in the Dominican Republic with the stolen loot, the feds say.

Shortly after midnight Thursday, the feds were watching as Lopez, wearing a burqa, went into the bank at 14 South La Grange Road.

Arrested as he left, he was still wearing the disguise, and carrying a suitcase, the feds say. He allegedly told them, “There's a lot of money in there.”

Though Lopez denied he had an accomplice, police found Pineda a block away in a Toyota Sienna minivan, using a walkie-talkie identical to the one Lopez had under his burqa, according to the complaint.

Taken to the La Grange Police Station, Lopez allegedly called his father and his brother and told them, “I was arrested by the FBI . . . I opened an ATM in the middle of the night and that's it.”

He also allegedly told his brother, “Call Leo, I f---ed up.”

Lopez and Pineda are both due to make their first appearance in court Friday afternoon.

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