Public Notices and Press Releases

Passaic County Resident Faces Charges for Explosive ATM Attack

Chase Bank ATM Damaged in Prospect Park Incident, Local Man Detained

Nicolas Torres, a 41-year-old resident of Passaic, New Jersey, has been officially charged following a dramatic incident involving an explosive device at a Chase Bank ATM in Prospect Park. 

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced the charges, which include using an explosive to damage property involved in interstate commerce and possession of an unregistered destructive device. The case promptly led to Torres' appearance in Newark federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor, where he was detained pending further proceedings.

The incident, which occurred in the early hours of July 5, 2022, was captured on surveillance footage showing Torres approaching the ATM and igniting what appeared to be an explosive. Moments later, an explosion visibly damaged the ATM, with Torres and two accomplices fleeing the scene. 

Investigations further implicated Torres through cell phone location data, which positioned him at the scene at the time of the incident. Prior activities, including a trip to Pennsylvania where Torres allegedly purchased $1,000 worth of fireworks, and the recovery of cardboard marked “MgAl” at the site, suggested the use of magnalium—a magnesium-aluminum alloy known for its explosive potential when ignited.

The charges against Torres bring serious legal repercussions, with the use of an explosive to damage real property carrying a minimum sentence of five years, up to a maximum of 20 years in prison, alongside a potential $250,000 fine. The charge of possessing an unregistered firearm (the destructive device) could add up to 10 more years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

This investigation was spearheaded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Newark Field Division, led by Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, with significant support from the Prospect Park Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vera Varshavsky of the U.S. Attorney’s National Security Unit is leading the prosecution.

While these charges paint a concerning picture, it is crucial to remember that they are merely accusations at this stage, and Torres is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This case underscores the vigilance and rapid response of law enforcement in protecting public safety and property against such destructive acts.

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