FF man guilty of ATM thefts

Published 11:16am Friday, August 30, 2013

A 31-year-old Fergus Falls man pleaded guilty Thursday, Aug. 29 in federal court to stealing money from ATMs in numerous locations in west central Minnesota and North Dakota.

Christopher James Diestler, a former armored truck driver, pleaded guilty to one count of bank larceny. Diestler, who was indicted July 16, entered his plea before United State District Chief Judge Michael J. Davis.

As part of his plea agreement, Diestler admitted that from March 2005 through March 15, 2012, he stole approximately $182,350 from Bremer Bank ATMs in Alexandria, Breckenridge, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Morris and Wahpeton, N.D.; a Wells Fargo ATM in Alexandria; and a U.S. Bank ATM in Fergus Falls. Diestler was working as an armored truck driver for a company out of Sauk Rapids at the time.

ATM currency is dispersed from cassettes that are installed into ATM machines. Diestler admittedly took cash from a number of those cassettes. Upon returning to an ATM to retrieve a cassette from which he stole money, he replaced the missing funds with currency taken from another ATM. By doing this, any audit performed on the cassettes would fail to reveal the prior thefts.

Diestler faces a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Judge Davis will determine his sentence at a future hearing, which is yet to be scheduled.

The case is a result of an investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office, the Fergus Falls Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lola Velazquez-Aguilu.

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