FBI seeking Bowie man in string of ATM robberies

March 03, 2006|By MATTHEW DOLAN | MATTHEW DOLAN,SUN REPORTER

Federal agents arrested one man yesterday and appealed for the public's help in catching the alleged ringleader of a gang believed to have broken into more than 30 automated teller machines in Maryland and Northern Virginia since 2003.

Agents with the Baltimore field office of the FBI arrested Eric "Dukie" Thomas of Bowie in the ATM thefts, according to FBI spokeswoman Michelle Crnkovich. She did not specify what Thomas is charged with.

The FBI issued a wanted poster identifying the alleged gang leader as Tracy Delong Fletcher, 29, believed to be a stepson of Thomas. Fletcher, also of Bowie, is armed and dangerous, officials said.

The spokeswoman said the string of ATM robberies is the largest that federal agents have seen in the region by one band of thieves.

The investigating agents say that they can link all of the robberies, but the spokeswoman would not say how exactly Fletcher and his cohorts are believed to have stolen money from the machines.

A video surveillance camera at a Sovereign Bank ATM in a Hagerstown shopping center filmed one person breaking into it at 4 a.m., Crnkovich said, though she did not say what day the theft occurred.

The most recent theft occurred late last month, the FBI spokeswoman said, at a First Financial Federal Credit Union cash dispenser on York Road.

Fletcher and three others were arrested in a stolen minivan in Spotsylvania County, Va., in December 2005, according to Crnkovich. Out on $25,000 bail, Fletcher was supposed to be on electronic monitoring, but his whereabouts are unknown, the spokeswoman said.

matthew.dolan@baltsun.com

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