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Long IslandNassau

$16,000 netted in arrests of 3 on ATM plot charges

Two New Jersey men and a Bethpage man were arrested Saturday after police recovered $16,000 in ATM withdrawals and 64 re-encoded gift cards in Merrick, Nassau police said.

Police said plainclothes officers in the department's Bureau of Special Operations saw two men with their faces partially covered exit a maroon Honda sedan and enter an enclosed ATM section of a Citibank branch at 2085 Merrick Rd. shortly before 10 p.m.

The men "went up to" three ATMs at the bank and then left, police said. Undercover officers followed the car and stopped it a short time later.

Police said they found "an amount of U.S. currency" wrapped around a plastic card protruding from the front passenger seat rear map pocket.

Police said they recovered $16,000 in ATM withdrawals, all in $20 denominations, as well as 64 re-encoded gift cards.

Police said they could not specify whether the total amount was withdrawn from those three ATMs. The investigation is continuing.

The three arrested were identified as Thomas Smith, 26, of Toms River, and Brian Smith, 24, of Bayville, both in New Jersey; and Sasha Popov, 42, of 69 Thomas Ave., Bethpage.

It is unknown whether the Smiths are related. Both are charged with possession of a forged instrument and scheme to defraud. Popov was similarly charged.

All were to be arraigned Sunday in First District Court in Hempstead.

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