Two men implicated in last week’s $26,120 theft in McCall make Bonnie and Clyde look like rank amateurs, officials say.
Authorities suspect that Nathan Paul Davenport, 34, and Matthew Taber Annable, 39, have knocked over at least 20 ATMs across the United States over the past 16 months. The FBI asserts that the two men grabbed more than $500,000 during a spree that took them to Idaho, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi and Florida.
In each case, police say, the modus operandi was the same.
A man dressed in dark clothes and a mask drove up to an ATM in a stolen Ford pickup and cut the bolts off the machine’s door. He then attached a chain and used the pickup to pull off the door, allowing him to reach in and grab bins of cash.
The thief then drove away and caught up with his partner, who was waiting in a rented car for the getaway.
“This entire event took about seven minutes and did not activate the ATM alarm,” FBI special agent James Patrick wrote in an affidavit for an arrest warrant for the two men, describing a Dec. 8, 2013, heist in Douglas, Wyo.
SIMILAR THEFTS FOUND
Patrick, who works out of the FBI’s office in Casper, Wyo., was investigating the theft of $74,020 from a Converse County Bank ATM in Douglas when he stumbled onto a much bigger caper.
He learned that Guaranty Bank and Trust in Castle Rock, Colo., had a similar ATM break-in three days after the Wyoming job. Thieves cut bolts off the door and used a chain to pull it free. They got away with $16,200.
Patrick issued a bulletin asking FBI offices across the country to notify him of any similar ATM heists. He learned of three a month earlier in Billings and Missoula, Mont. The thieves cleared out $41,285 from those ATMs.
DODGE TRUCK PROVIDES LEAD
The first big break in the case came when Patrick learned of a string of ATM thefts a year earlier in San Antonio, Texas. Two of those thefts differed in one key way — the thief used Dodge pickups rather than Fords. Both of the Dodge trucks were traced to Davenport.
For one, the thief removed the outer rear wheels from a dual-wheeled Dodge pickup to allow the truck to fit through the skinny ATM lane at Security Service Credit Union in San Antonio. It also had a distinctive differential cap with lettering, brightly colored shock absorbers, a chrome tailgate, chrome side steps and a temporary Texas license plate.
The license plate had been stolen from a different vehicle. The same plate, however, was used in a different ATM robbery, affixed to the other Dodge pickup traced to Davenport.
In both thefts, the thief wore a mask and a Superman logo baseball cap, and had a prominent black handgun on his hip.
San Antonio police officers located the dual-wheeled pickup at a local repair shop. The vehicle was registered to Davenport at an address in Wheat Ridge, Colo. Shop workers told police that Davenport checked his truck out of the shop and later returned it.
The Security Service Credit Union ATM theft on Oct. 26, 2012, which netted the thieves $76,120, took place while the truck was out of the shop.
The other Dodge truck, used in a $63,840 theft from a different Security Service ATM, matched the description of one owned by Davenport’s father-in-law, who resides in Spring Branch, Texas.
MERIDIAN BANK HIT
Patrick, the FBI agent, obtained a search warrant and went through Verizon phone records connected to a phone Davenport carried with an Idaho number. Signals from the phone registered on cell towers in many of the towns, usually minutes before the ATM robberies occurred, he said.
Patrick also obtained records from a nationwide criminal database. The records indicated each time police ran a check for warrants through the database, typically after a traffic stop.
On Jan. 5, 2014, burglars robbed an Idaho Saving Co. ATM at 1800 S. Eagle Road in Meridian. That occurred a day after Davenport was stopped by an Idaho State Police trooper.
“It looked like they cut off the door bolts and lifted out the safe,” said Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea of the Meridian Police Department. “And they were driving a Ford pickup that had been reported stolen.”
The day after the Meridian robbery, Nathan Davenport and his wife, Diane Davenport, were spotted with Annable by FBI agents in Coeur d’Alene transferring bags from a car rented by Nathan Davenport into a car rented by Annable, and then into a Ford Excursion owned by Diane.
SHOTS FIRED IN MCCALL
On Jan. 10, thieves stole $26,120 from an Idaho First Bank ATM in McCall. A witness called police and gave a description of the man he saw yanking the door off the ATM, the vehicle he was driving and his direction of travel.
Police located the stolen Ford pickup two minutes later and gave chase. The man in the pickup, believed by authorities to be Davenport, stopped the pickup twice and fired at officers, police said. The chase ended as the bullets immobilized the police cars.
That was the first time police had been fired on. In the other thefts, the robbers got away before police even arrived.
McCall Police Chief Justin Williams said he was thankful no one was injured. He credited the witness for providing the information that eventually led to the arrest of Davenport and Annable on Sunday in Orem, Utah.
“We could not have scripted a much better ending,” Williams said. “No one was hurt and the two suspects were located and arrested.”
The two men appeared Monday in federal court in Salt Lake City on a federal complaint charging them with last month’s Wyoming theft.
They are charged with ATM theft and aiding and abetting. They could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on those charges.
A magistrate ordered them returned to Wyoming to stand trial.
On Tuesday, Davenport was indicted by a federal grand jury in the McCall theft. He was charged with use of a deadly weapon and bank larceny by use of a dangerous weapon.
He faces a mandatory sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison if convicted on the weapons charge, and up to 25 years on the larceny charge.
When Davenport was indicted in Idaho, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he was from Bonners Ferry, the same hometown listed when he was cited for speeding in October in Bonner County.
However, when he rented a Chevy Tahoe in Hayden Lake in December, Davenport used a Texas driver’s license listing his hometown as Spring Branch, Texas.
So far, charges have not been filed against Annable in Idaho. An Arizona driver’s license used to rent a hotel room in Wyoming listed him as being from Scottsdale. When he was cited in December for speeding in Kootenai County, he listed a Bonners Ferry address.
Wendy Olson, the U.S. attorney for Idaho, said the Wyoming case will be pursued first. She declined to say whether her office would bring charges connected to the Meridian heist but said that case is still under investigation.
“The FBI continues to work these cases,” she said.
John Sowell: 377-6423, Twitter: @IDS_Sowell