The two men arrested for breaking into the Mountain Center Market and stealing the ATM machine and its cash contents were Ryan Mason, 24, of Hemet, and Nickolas Melendez, 26, of Cabazon.
The two men were arrested on Highway 74, just west of the U.S. Forest Service’s Cranston Ranger Station, shortly after they allegedly ransacked the ATM to get the cash.
Later, the investigation identified possible links between this break-in and a string of ATM thefts in San Bernardino County.
Both men were arrested in a coordinated effort with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department for burglary. The District Attorney’s Office later filed, against both men, two charges of burglary and two charges of grand theft of more than $400,000.
Both suspects have been released on bail. Mason’s arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 9 and Melendez has one scheduled for Nov. 10
The break-in occurred during the early morning hours of Monday, Sept. 14, and the security cameras owner Shane Stewart has in all of his business locations were instrumental in the arrest. Apparently, the thieves took the ATM to McGaugh Road, where they broke into it and took the cash. The machine was found there.
The market remained open Monday, Sept. 14, and the ATM machine was replaced that afternoon, according to Stewart.