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Two men indicted in ATM thefts

Both are facing similar charges in other counties

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST
Robert W. Zais
Robert Lambert

STERLING – Two men are indicted on six felony counts apiece in connection with ATM thefts from two Sterling businesses in May.

The indictment handed down Tuesday in Whiteside County charges Robert W. Zais, 25, of Tampico, and Robert A. Lambert, 32, of Kewanee, with two counts each of theft and burglary, and of possession of a stolen vehicle and criminal damage to property.

They are accused of stealing ATMs from Northland Mall and Eggs in Paradise on May 12.

The Eggs in Paradise ATM was found the day of the break-in in the detention pond behind the old Menards building, which is east of the restaurant.

The Gator used to break into the mall was found June 7 near the Hennepin Canal in Rock Falls. The mall’s ATM was found more than a month later in a ravine near Newman Central Catholic High School.

They also were charged with theft in Lee County. In April, deputies said they caught the pair hauling a John Deere Gator that had been stolen from a Geneseo dealership that month.

A Gator used to break into the mall and haul away its ATM was stolen from the same dealership in April, investigators have said.

Lambert has been accepted into Lee County’s second-chance program and has a hearing Tuesday. Prosecutors dropped Zais’ case on Nov. 9.

The two also were arrested in Henry County in August; police there said they stole a safe from an Annawan mobile banking center, and an ATM from a convenience store.

They are charged with three counts of burglary, three counts of theft between $500 and $10,000 and two counts of theft between $10,000 and $100,000 in that case.

They were arrested Aug. 20 after police searched their homes and recovered evidence that they said linked them to the Annawan break-ins.

The men are scheduled to appear in Henry County court March 19 for hearings on motions to sever their cases, and to suppress statements made to investigators.

They are in Henry County Jail on $100,000 bond each.

Zais already has four felony convictions in Whiteside County, for theft in ‘03, ‘06, ‘08, and for destroying evidence in 2010.

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