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Manteca man arrested in series of ATM break-ins
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If the third time is a charm, the fourth is the time you get caught – especially if it’s using explosives to break into ATM machines across two counties.

Just over two weeks after Manteca Police responded to the call of an explosive device being used to break open the Bank of America ATM machine near Mountain Mike’s Pizza on Main Street investigators were able to follow up on a fresh lead and track down the person they believe was responsible for two of those crimes in Manteca, one in Lodi, and one recently in Modesto.

Rangel Herneandez, 32, of Manteca, was arrested by Modesto Police on Wednesday after a multi-agency investigation that included the Manteca Police Department and the San Joaquin Metropolitan Bomb Squad determined that he was responsible for the use of an explosive method to gain entry to an ATM machine in Modesto.

According to police, surveillance footage from something other than the ATM machine provided police with a fresh set of clues and kicked off an investigation that led to search warrants being served at his Manteca home – where officers found evidence that linked him to both crimes in Manteca and the one in Lodi as well as the most recent one in Lodi.

Hernandez was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail where he is being charged with burglary, arson, use of a destructive device and possession of a destructive device in public – all felonies. Charges in the cases in San Joaquin County are expected to be filed soon.

Police have not released the method he used to gain entry to the ATM machines other than to say that he didn’t use a traditional high-explosive as they are worried about the potential of copycat crimes. In both incidents in Manteca the ATM machine was badly damaged in what appeared to be an explosion, and in the case of the initial incident at the Bank of America ATM had the potential to threaten the building to which it was attached.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.