Man nicknamed ‘Willy Wonka’ pleads guilty to multiple crimes

SALEM, Mass. (AP) — The leader of a multistate ATM and vehicle burglary ring known as “Willy Wonka” or the “Chocolate Man” has pleaded guilty to 60 charges.

The Salem News reports that 47-year-old William “Willy Wonka” Rodriguez pleaded guilty Thursday to his role in crimes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut that netted more than $300,000 in property and currency.

The Lawrence man was one of five people arrested in August during a police investigation dubbed Operation Golden Ticket.

Rodriguez remains jailed on $500,000 bail pending sentencing Nov. 7 where he faces up to 12 years in prison.

Authorities say the gang wore black clothing and masks, carried police scanners, two-way radios and power tools. They often stole vehicles, which they used to crash into businesses so they could steal ATMs.

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Information from: The Salem (Mass.) News, http://www.salemnews.com

Associated Press

Associated Press

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