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Press Release

Passaic County Man Charged with Using Explosive to Damage Chase Bank ATM

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Passaic County man was charged with using an explosive to damage a Chase Bank automated teller machine (ATM) in Prospect Park, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Nicolas Torres, 41, of Passaic, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with using an explosive to damage real property used in interstate commerce and possession of an unregistered firearm, namely the destructive device. The defendant appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court and was detained.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In the early morning hours of July 5, 2022, Torres was captured on surveillance video approaching the Chase Bank ATM in Prospect Park and appearing to ignite an item in front of the ATM. Several seconds later, an explosion was seen at the ATM. Torres was seen fleeing the location with two individuals.

In addition to the surveillance video, cellular phone location data placed Torres in the area of the Chase Bank at the time of the explosion. The investigation also revealed that Torres had traveled to Pennsylvania the day before and purchased approximately $1,000 worth of fireworks.

Examination of the physical evidence obtained from Chase Bank revealed cardboard with “MgAl” stamped on it. MgAl refers to magnalium, an alloy of magnesium and aluminum, which can be used as fuel to form an explosive when ignited by heat or a flame (as depicted in the surveillance video), thereby making it an improvised explosive device.

The use of an explosive to damage real property used in interstate commerce charge carries a statutory minimum of five years in prison, a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000. The possession of an unregistered firearm charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, and the Prospect Park Police Department, under the direction of Officer in Charge Captain Walter Richmond, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Vera Varshavsky of the U.S. Attorney’s National Security Unit in Newark.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


Updated March 28, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-117