SAN DIEGO – A Chula Vista man will spend 138 months in prison after being sentenced for blowing up a couple of ATMs in 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday.
Prosecutors said Chad Lee Engel, 50, of Chula Vista pleaded guilty in July 2022 for being involved in two separate ATM explosions.
One of the explosions occurred on July 4, 2017, when Engel admitted that he and an accomplice detonated a pipe bomb at a California Coast Credit Union ATM at 4285 Ruffin Rd. in San Diego, according to prosecutors.
The pipe bomb was placed on a metal shelf underneath the ATM, causing serious damage to the structure of the machine, but did not expose money inside, prosecutors said.
On August 13, 2017, Engel and an accomplice went to an outdoor ATM at a Chevron gas station on 9650 Miramar Road in San Diego, according to prosecutors. They drilled a hole and released an unknown gas into the ATM.
The ATM was then destroyed once Engel and his accomplice placed and ignited a hobby fuse inside the drilled hole before they stole roughly $7,000 and ran away, prosecutors said.
While Engel was pleading guilty to these crimes, he admitted there were two other ATMs he tried to steal from including one at the Super Laundry in Chula Vista.
The Super Laundry incident happened on June 18, 2017, when Engel and a partner broke into the business, but were unsuccessful in breaking into the ATM, prosecutors said. Even though the pair did not break into the ATM, they still got away with $140.
A week later Engel and his accomplice broke into an ATM at 12860 Ranch Peñasquitos Blvd. in San Diego, according to prosecutors. The couple placed the ATM into their vehicle and took it near Fiesta Island, where they used a grinder and cutting torch to retrieve the money inside.