Two Inland Empire Men Ordered Held Without Bond After Being Charged in Federal Case Alleging Series of ATM Robberies
RIVERSIDE, CA—Two men were charged today with participating in a string of ATM robberies in which they used power tools and a truck to forcibly open safes inside drive-up ATMs and steal nearly a half million dollars.
James William Costilow, 38, of Riverside, and David Joseph Silva Jr., 25, of Fontana, were charged today in a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court with attempted theft from a bank.
The charge relates to an unsuccessful ATM robbery early Tuesday morning in Murrieta, but the affidavit in support of the complaint alleges that the two men “have been successful in approximately four incidents and have stolen approximately $462,093 in cash.”
The attempted theft charge in the complaint stems from an incident in which Costilow and Silva allegedly went to a Chase Bank branch in Murrieta, used a pass code to trigger an audit of the ATM cash supply, and, once money was delivered to the machine, attempted to break into the safe to steal the money. After attempting to cut the hinges on the safe doors, they tried to pull the doors off with a truck, but the attempt failed when the bumper came off the truck, according to the affidavit.
Murrieta Police officers responded to the incident and took Costilow and Silva into custody after a short chase. They were held in local custody until yesterday, when they were turned over to federal authorities.
The affidavit describes how Costilow and Silva allegedly broke into ATM safes: “A type of power saw or a ‘jaws of life’ device is used to cut into the safe doors. Once the safe doors are weakened, a nylon towrope is tied to the safe door and to the truck. The truck attempts to pull the safe door off, enabling access to the money.”
There have been 15 thefts and attempted thefts from drive-up ATMs at Chase Bank branches in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties over the past six months. The affidavit states that investigators believe Costilow and Silva were involved in all 15 incidents.
A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.
Costilow and Silva made their initial court appearances earlier this afternoon in United States District Court, where a magistrate judge ordered them held without bond and scheduled an arraignment for October 15.
The charge of attempted bank theft carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
This case is the product of an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Murrieta Police Department.