Nearly a dozen men have been charged in connection to a string of ATM smash and grab robberies in the greater Cleveland area dating back several years.
Authorities told newsnet5.com that they arrested five men after a Tuesday morning raid on Pratt Avenue on Cleveland's east side. Several others are in custody.
The morning raids were part of a joint investigation conducted by Parma, Cleveland and Strongsville police departments as well as the Ohio State Highway Patrol. SWAT teams from Parma, Cleveland and the Southwest Enforcement Bureau were also involved.
A 46-page indictment unsealed on Tuesday revealed details of a sophisticated crime syndicate that stretched from February 9, 2011 to August 8 of this year.
Eleven men have been charged for their roles in smash and grab ATM thefts in Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark, Lake, and Lorain counties.
According to the indictment, the men customized cargo vans to fit ATMs, then later used blow torches to pry off the doors and steal hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Parma Lt. Kevin Riley deferred any questions to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office due to the fact that some of the individuals have been indicted by the office.
A Cleveland police spokesperson told newsnet5.com that the division was "executing search and/or arrest warrants." A press conference will be held Wednesday morning with more details. A police spokesperson said they "will discuss today’s multi-agency operation against a major ATM theft ring and the criminal investigation that led to it."
On Aug. 8 Strongsville police told newsnet5.com that investigators were working to connect the suspects in a smash and grab at a Strongsville 7-Eleven on Royalton Road to other smash and grabs in the area.
Dozens of smash and grab robberies have plagued convenience stores in the Cleveland area over the last year.
In the Strongsville case, David Johnson of Cleveland and Christopher Freeman of Cleveland were arrested and charged with aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, safecracking, possession of criminal tools and vandalism.
Two other suspects got away.
View a map of the smash and grab locations below: