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Former armored truck driver pleads guilty to stealing from ATMs

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A former armored truck driver pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to stealing money from automated teller machines (ATMs) in numerous locations in Minnesota, including Alexandria, and North Dakota.

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Christopher James Diestler, 31, of Fergus Falls, pleaded guilty to one count of bank larceny. Diestler, who was indicted on July 16, 2013, entered his plea before United States District Chief Judge Michael J. Davis.

In his plea agreement, Diestler admitted that from March 2005 through March 15, 2012, while working as an armored truck driver for a company out of Sauk Rapids, he stole approximately $182,350 from Bremer Bank ATMs in Alexandria, Breckenridge, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, and Morris, Minnesota, and Wahpeton, North Dakota, as well as a Wells Fargo ATM in Alexandria and a U.S. Bank ATM in Fergus Falls.

ATM currency is dispersed from cassettes that are installed into ATM machines. Diestler admitted taking cash from a number of those cassettes. Then, upon returning to an ATM to retrieve a cassette from which he had stolen 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.

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

The case is the 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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Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
(320) 763-1236
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