Ex-Marine gets prison for ATM break-ins

Eric Callaghan

A former Marine who admitted to burglarizing 11 ATMs in Mesa County and dozens more in Eagle and Summit County last summer was sentenced Friday by a Mesa County district judge to four years in prison.

Eric Callaghan, 25, an honorably discharged Marine who served in Iraq, told police his training helped him commit the crimes and he gave advice to authorities on how to better patrol their streets.

Callaghan, who received an additional 7-year prison sentence from a judge in Vail last month, is required to pay total restitution costs of more than $215,000 for cases in all three counties.

“It was interesting because he had no criminal history, but his crimes were significant,” said Mesa County Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Savage. “His crimes were well planned. If it wasn’t for his total cooperation, we wouldn’t have this case.”

According to his arrest affidavit, Callaghan told investigators he carefully staked out businesses and officers’ rounds before breaking into businesses and cracking open their ATMs.

Police said Callaghan candidly told them how they could do their jobs better. He also said he would return to some businesses to investigate how they repaired their doors and security, and said some businesses had done a poor job with the repairs.

“He had done a large amount of ‘reconnaissance’ on the police department thereby allowing him to know as much as he could about the officers’ habits and patrol tactics,” Callaghan’s arrest affidavit said. “He had a good amount of advice for the PD as to what would have made it harder for him to access the individual businesses.”

Callaghan’s burglary spree in the three counties lasted two years. He was caught after police in Avon found two grinders — power tools — that Callaghan had used to break into an ATM there. Police traced the items back to a Walmart, obtaining video from the purchase.

The grinders were purchased minutes before his final break-in Nov. 19, 2011, according to the Vail Daily.

The newspaper reported that Callaghan lived out of a storage unit, but also lived in Nebraska. He told the judge there during that sentencing that his life fell apart when his mother got sick and his best friend committed suicide, the paper reported.

Callaghan was ordered by Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison to repay $15,244 in restitution to Mesa County businesses.

In Mesa County, Callaghan admitted to burglarizing the ATMs between June 27 and October 26, 2011, according to his arrest affidavit. Those businesses include: the former GJ Scores, 2445 F 3/8 Road; the Lincoln Park Golf Course, 800 Mantlo Circle; Quincy’s, 609 Main St.; twice at McDonald’s Restaurant, 2438 U.S. Highway 6&50; a safe at Mesa Mall; twice at Tenacious Brothers, 118 S. Seventh St.; Old Chicago, 120 North Ave.; Weaver’s Tavern, 103 N. First St.; and Econo Wash, 2401 North Ave.

He was sentenced in Mesa County after pleading guilty to charges of second-degree burglary, theft of between $300 and $10,0000 and criminal mischief of between $1,000 to $20,000.


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