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ATM technician donned burqa disguise before taking $168,000 from cash machine, feds say

Updated: September 17, 2014 6:10AM



ATM technician Gildardo Lopez Jr. had a key to the bank, an “Arab woman” disguise and a buddy at the airport, the feds say.

But his alleged cunning plan to steal $168,000 from a branch of Chase Bank and flee to the Dominican Republic was foiled before it began.

Federal agents say they were laying in wait as the 31-year-old Chicagoan walked into the La Grange bank wearing a burqa in the early hours of Thursday and filled a suitcase with cash.

Lopez was still dressed in the Muslim woman’s garment when he was nabbed leaving the bank, while his alleged getaway driver, TSA worker Douglas Pineda, sat waiting in a minivan a block away, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday.

“It reads like a B movie,” Lopez’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, said of the court filing that lays out madcap details of the alleged bungled heist.

Wearing orange prison jumpsuits, both defendants looked sorry for themselves as they made an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors say they learned of the plot when an informant who works with Lopez at Garda Cash Logistics told the FBI that Lopez had been bragging about his plan to rob the ATM.

Lopez, who was paid to maintain ATMs, was upset that Chase was ending it’s contract with Garda and worried he might lose his job, the feds say.

On Tuesday and Wednesday he allegedly told the informant twice he would use his keys to open up the ATM while wearing a burqa to fool security cameras.

He told the informant his accomplice — whose voice wouldn’t be recognized — would call Garda to get a code to disable the bank’s alarm, the feds say.

Pineda would then help him escape to the Dominican Republic, where he planned to buy a house with his loot, he allegedly crowed.

Pineda admitted he was with Lopez when police found him near the bank with a walkie talkie that matched one Lopez had under his burqa, the feds say.

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.”

Both men were placed under house arrest. They each face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Email: kjanssen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @kimjnews



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