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Passaic County Man Charged for Explosive Attack on NJ Chase Bank ATM

Passaic County

By: Richard L. Smith

A Passaic County man faces federal charges for detonating an explosive device at a Chase Bank automated teller machine (ATM) in Prospect Park. AdU.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced the charges against 41-year-old Mr. Nicolas Torres of Passaic encompassing the use of an explosive to damage real property involved in interstate commerce and possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Torres was apprehended and made his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court, where he was subsequently detained.

The incident, which took place in the early hours of July 5, 2022, was meticulously planned and executed, as evidenced by surveillance footage capturing Torres igniting an item in front of the ATM, leading to a subsequent explosion.

Investigative efforts were bolstered by cellular phone location data, which placed Torres in the vicinity of the Chase Bank at the time of the incident.

Further probing revealed that Torres had made a trip to Pennsylvania the day prior to the explosion, where he purchased fireworks valued at approximately $1,000.AdThese findings suggest a premeditated approach to the attack.

A critical piece of evidence emerged from the debris collected at the scene—a piece of cardboard marked with "MgAl," signifying magnalium, a highly combustible alloy of magnesium and aluminum.

This substance, capable of creating an explosive reaction when ignited, indicated that the device used in the attack was an improvised explosive device (IED).

The charges levied against Torres carry severe penalties, including a statutory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison, along with a $250,000 fine for the explosive-related charge.

Additionally, the possession of an unregistered firearm charge could result in up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.