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What One ATM Technician Tried to Do While Wearing a Burqa Got the FBI's Attention

“Call Leo, I f****d up.”

Image via

Within Islam, the body- and face-covering burqa can be seen as a tool of male oppression or, alternately, as a way for women to be free of the male gaze.

Outside of Islam, the burqa can have different applications altogether.

A Chicago man allegedly attempted to use a burqa to conceal himself from security cameras as he robbed an ATM, but thanks to his ham fisted attempts at reconnaissance, law enforcement was waiting for him.

Image via Gildardo Lopez Jr. allegedly used a burqa, like the one pictured above, to conceal himself as he stole nearly $170,000 from an ATM. (Image via Osama Saeed / flickr)

As the Chicago Tribune reported:

As FBI agents watched in the early morning hours Thursday, ATM technician Gildardo Lopez Jr. walked up to the Chase bank branch at 14 S. LaGrange Rd. disguised as a woman with a black burqa over his face, a walkie-talkie connected to ear buds and carrying a black suitcase, authorities said.

Lopez slipped on a pair of latex gloves and went inside the bank’s ATM vestibule. When he emerged 15 minutes later, authorities said, the suitcase was stuffed with $168,174 in cash.

“There’s a lot of money in there,” the complaint quoted Lopez as telling FBI agents who took him into custody. Later, while under arrest at the LaGrange police station, he called his older brother and was overheard by an agent saying, “Call Leo, I f****d up,” the charges alleged.

Lopez was reportedly driven to commit the crime because he feared he would lose his job — the job that gave him access to the ATMs in the first place.

But he did a poor job of picking accomplices, as a coworker he approached alerted law enforcement to his plans.

From the Tribune:

According to the charges, Lopez concocted the ill-fated scheme because he believed his job as an ATM technician for Garda Cash Logistics could be in jeopardy. On Tuesday, he told a coworker he’d noticed a lot of cash in the ATM at the Chase bank and asked the employee for an electronic key that would shut off the bank’s alarm system, the charges alleged. The coworker instead went to the FBI.

The coworker also recorded a meeting with Lopez Wednesday night, during which the man revealed his plans: He was hoping to escape with the stolen money to the Dominican Republic.

But instead of escaping and living a life of luxury, Lopez reportedly had to make an uncomfortable phone call to his dad and speak the words no father wants to hear: “I got arrested by the FBI.”

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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