FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Seven Brooklyn Men Indicted for Stealing over $1 Million From
Owners and Couriers Who Were Delivering Funds to Private ATM Machines
Allegedly Followed Cars, Deflated Their Tires and Stole Cash When Drivers Stepped Out;
15 Larcenies in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Bronx Charged in the Indictment
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that seven men from Brooklyn have been variously charged with conspiracy and larceny in connection with a long-running scheme in which they allegedly stole more than $1 million by breaking into vehicles that were delivering funds to replenish private ATM machines throughout New York City. The defendants allegedly surveilled two Brooklyn warehouses, targeted cars that were carrying cash from those locations and used various methods – including releasing air from a tire to facilitate entry – to enter the cars and steal the money.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These defendants allegedly ran a brazen and lucrative scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from our local businesses. An intensive investigation by the NYPD and my Office has ended their citywide crime spree and we will now seek to hold them responsible for their numerous crimes.”
The District Attorney identified the defendants as Brooklyn residents William Jackson aka “Smoke,” 47, Lance Spearman aka “Lo,” 39, Jamel Cooper aka “Coop,” 44, Jeffrey Blount, 55, Sherrod Coleman aka “Rod,” 45, Johnnie Corbett, 31, and Freddie Barnes, 46. They are named in an 81-count indictment in which they are variously charged with fourth- and fifth-degree conspiracy, multiple counts of second-, third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, third-degree burglary and related charges.
The District Attorney said that, according to the indictment, between December 2017 and July 2019, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to steal money from ATM owners and their drivers while they were delivering funds to refill private, non-bank-affiliated ATM machines throughout New York City. In order to facilitate the scheme, the defendants allegedly conducted surveillance on at least two ATM warehouses in Brooklyn – in Vinegar Hill and East Williamsburg – where cash is packaged and distributed to refill ATMs.
It is alleged that the defendants targeted commercial vehicles that left these facilities and used multiple cars to conduct the surveillance, the lookout, the theft and the get-away. The conspirators allegedly entered the target vehicles through unlocked doors, by force or, in some occasions, by releasing air from the rear passenger tire to gain entry when the driver attended to the flat tire. In total, the defendants allegedly stole $1,003,670 in 15 incidents charged in the indictment.
Those incidents include:
- On February 27, 2017, defendants Jackson, Spearman, Blount and Coleman allegedly followed a van to a gas station in New Hyde Park, Queens. Surveillance video shows a sedan driven by one of the defendants obscure the van, which was left unattended, while Blount opens the back door and removes a box containing $4,000. Shortly thereafter, he is seen entering another vehicle with the box and drives away.
- On March 2, 2018, defendants Jackson, Spearman, Blount and Coleman allegedly followed an ATM owner from the East Williamsburg warehouse after he withdrew $480,000. When he reached his Queens home and exited his vehicle to open the garage, one of the conspirators entered his car and drove away. The defendants then all drove to Nassau County, LI, and moved bags of cash into their own minivan.
- On July 30, 2018, defendants Jackson, Cooper and Blount allegedly followed an ATM courier to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, released air from his car’s rear tire and stole $14,000.
- On September 5, 2018, defendants Jackson, Cooper, Corbett and Blount followed an ATM courier to a location in Bushwick, Brooklyn where the three other defendants were waiting on foot. Spearman and Blount then allegedly entered the vehicle and removed an ATM cassette containing about $73,000 before the group fled in several vehicles.
- On October 15, 2018, defendants Spearman and Blount allegedly followed an ATM courier in Brooklyn and released air from his vehicle’s rear tire. When he stopped at a gas station to refill the air, they stole $112,000 from his vehicle.
- On May 14, 2019, defendants Spearman, Cooper and Blount allegedly released air from the vehicle of an ATM courier. When he stopped at a mechanic’s garage in Jamaica, Queens, Blount entered his vehicle and removed $50,000.
- On May 21, 2019, defendants Spearman and Blount allegedly followed an ATM courier to a gas station in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. When the driver left his car unattended, briefly, Blount allegedly shattered the rear passenger window and stole $50,000.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Javier Munoz of the Organized Theft Squad under the supervision of Deputy Inspector Christopher Flanagan of the Financial Crimes Task Force and Organized Theft Squad, and Deputy Inspector Timothy McCoade, Chief of the Grand Larceny Division. He was assisted by Sergeant Joseph Tarsio, Sergeant Beslity and Detectives Michael McFadden, Rigel Zeledon, Brett Huzar and Edrian Irizarry.
Additional assistance in the investigation was provided by Supervising Analyst Brooke Middleton and Intelligence Analyst Alexandra Aber, of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit, and Senior Intelligence Analyst Danielle Jackson and Paralegal Kimberly Bifulco, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Kyriacou of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Jennifer Cilia, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Alfred Deingeniis, Bureau Chief, and Raymond Tierney, Executive Assistant District Attorney for Crime Strategies.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.