LAWRENCE, MASS. (WHDH) - Three members of a sophisticated crime ring were arrested in Massachusetts and New Hampshire over the weekend after they allegedly stole $64,000 from ATMs.
Tharushan Nirmalachandran, 30, of Quebec, and Ajitharan Raveendran, 28, of Ontario, were taken into custody in Methuen Saturday and were slated to be arraigned Monday on charges of possession of a burglarious instrument and receiving stolen property over $1,200.
A third man, 23-year-old Syed Hoque, of Brooklyn, New York, was also arrested in Hudson, New Hampshire, when a citizen reported him acting suspiciously at a Digital Federal Credit Union on Lowell Road, according to police.
An officer approached Hoque’s vehicle and was reportedly able to see a “large amount of money stacked on the passenger seat and a large number of Gift cards sitting in the console.”
Hoque allegedly admitted to his involvement in using stolen account information that was saved onto gift cards and using those cards to withdraw money from DCU and that it was in conjunction with a theft ring.
He was charged with one count of receiving stolen property after police say more than $9,000 in cash was found in his vehicle, along with numerous gift cards containing bank account information.
Hudson police were actively investigating the case involving larcenies from ATMs when they received information that the suspects were likely operating out of a room in the Days Inn on Pelham Street in Methuen, according to police.
“It appears they entered the country earlier in the week from Canada to Atlanta, Georgia,” Methuen Police Captain Kristopher McCarthy said. “All three of them rented three different vehicles and proceeded up the east coast.”
Methuen police executed a search warrant for the hotel room just before 7 a.m. Saturday, where they allegedly found Nirmalachandran and Raveendran.
An additional search of a rental car in possession of Nimalachandran was also executed, leading to the discovery of more than $50,000 in cash inside duffel bags, gift cards, debit cards, a printing device, and an electronic device determined to be used to activate and utilize bank cards, police said.
“Our assumption is that they were hitting ATM’s all the way up the coast,” McCarthy said. “Why else would they start in Atlanta and end up here?”
Police say the men were counting the money in Methuen, cleaning it a casino in New York, and then transporting it to Canada in rental vehicles.
Authorities are working to determine if the men are connected to a larger operation.
The Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service is assisting with an investigation.
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