ATM heaven turns to hell


Herald Writer

Call it the case of the cash-spewing ATM.

Larry Paul Dewitt and Isaac Jacob Marleau probably couldn’t believe their luck in 1998 when they discovered the Lake Stevens money-dispensing machine. It didn’t charge their accounts and kept giving them money in amounts up to $200 at a crack.

They’re not feeling so lucky today.

Dewitt, 23, of Everett and Marleau, 24, of Granite Falls were charged Wednesday in Snohomish County Superior Court with one count each of first-degree theft for making repeated withdrawals from a newly installed cash machine.

The machine still had demonstration software in it, causing it to malfunction, according to court documents.

A total of $90,000 was withdrawn between July 17, 1998, and Aug. 15, 1998, when the mistake was discovered.

Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives determined that 10 cards were responsible for withdrawal of $75,000. Marleau and Dewitt are charged with making more than 50 withdrawals with their own cards over a total of seven days. Altogether, they withdrew $10,100, court documents said.

The demonstration software kept a record of each transaction by card number, time, date and amount dispensed. It did not actually access the cardholder’s account, said William Joice, deputy prosecutor.

That resulted in no record of a debit to the cardholder’s account and allowed people to make multiple transactions without the usual daily limit, Joice said.

The ATM was newly installed at a McDonalds restaurant located in the 500 block of Highway 9, store owner Ramon Gomez said. He said the company that installed the machine inadvertently left the wrong software in it. The ATM company took the financial loss.

Gomez declined to talk about any details of the case, including who else might have used cards to fraudulently get cash.

However, he said he’s pleased that somebody has been charged. He credited law enforcement for pursuing the case through a maze of bank records and search warrants, something that contributed to the lengthy delay between the theft and Wednesday’s charges.

"When you’re dealing with people’s bank records and search warrants, it’s extremely complicated," Gomez said. "For them to have gotten a (criminal charge) is an accomplishment."

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

K-9 Hobbs and Sgt. Jason Robinson pose for a photo after Hobbs’ retirement ceremony at the Edmonds Police Department in Edmonds, Washington on Thursday Jan. 26, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Police dog Hobbs retires after nearly 10 years on the Edmonds force

The German shepherd had 520 deployments, 166 arrests and 113 evidence finds with his handler, Sgt. Jason Robinson.

U.S. Attorney Nick Brown and the victim of a brutal attack in 2018 answer questions from reporters on Jan. 27, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
White supremacists sentenced for racist beating at Lynnwood bar

A federal judge handed out stiffer sentences than prosecutors had asked for in a series of sentencing hearings Friday.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring is this year's winner of the Henry M. Jackson Award given by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Photographed in Marysville, Washington on April 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Marysville State of the City address set for Feb. 1

Mayor Jon Nehring will highlight 2022 accomplishments and look to the future. Questions from the audience will follow.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A move to require voting and a bicameral chasm on vehicle pursuits

It’s Day 19 and the mood is heating up as the third week of the 2023 legislative session comes to an end.

Most Read