2 men stole over $1M from ATMs across the Bronx in 'calculated scheme': DOJ

One of the defendants was seen using a tool to break into an ATM.
One of the men was seen using a sophisticated tool to break into a Bronx business and an ATM. They both stole more than $77,000 from the ATM. Photo credit The Justice Department

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Two men were arrested Friday for stealing over $1 million from ATMs in a yearslong scheme throughout the Bronx, federal prosecutors announced.

Ramdeo Balliram, 44, and Leonardo Ortiz, 52, were charged with bank theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud in a two-count indictment unsealed Friday.

According to the criminal complaint, between at least March 2021 and January 2023, Balliram, Ortiz and an unnamed co-conspirator committed at least 23 burglaries of commercial establishments in the Bronx, stealing over $1 million from ATMs.

The burglaries followed a simple pattern: on each occasion, Balliram, Ortiz and at least one other person broke into Bronx small businesses — often bodegas or restaurants — in the middle of the night to steal all the cash from the store's ATM.

The complaint said Balliram and Ortiz ransacked each store, stealing all the cash from the registers, cigarettes, lottery tickets, alcohol and digital video recording systems while stealing all the cash from the ATMs. Each time, Balliram and Ortiz took tens of thousands of dollars in cash and valuables.

Balliram and Ortiz allegedly followed an armored car as it refilled ATMs throughout the Bronx on behalf of a specific bank to determine which ATMs to target. Once the duo learned which ATMs had been refilled, they traveled to that location to break into the store and steal the cash.

Both men used sophisticated tools to break into commercial establishments and ATMs, but when they couldn't break into the ATM to steal the cash, Balliram and Ortiz stole the entire ATM.

"As alleged, the defendants carried out a calculated scheme for years, stealing over a million dollars from ATMs in businesses throughout the Bronx," said Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a statement.

Both men face up to 15 years in prison if convicted on both counts.

Featured Image Photo Credit: The Department of Justice