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Area Corrections Officer Charged In NYC Armored Car Robbery Conspiracy

Michael Santiago, a corrections officers at the Fishkill Corrections Facility (shown here), is one of three men arrested today in connection with a series of armored car robberies.
Michael Santiago, a corrections officers at the Fishkill Corrections Facility (shown here), is one of three men arrested today in connection with a series of armored car robberies. Photo Credit: N.Y. Department of Corrections

Three men, including a corrections officer from Fishkill, have been charged with taking part in a conspiracy to rob a series of armored cars in the Bronx, according to Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Those charged -- Michael Santiago, a corrections officer at Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, Kenneth Smith, and Bruce Collazo (aka Tonz) -- appeared in Manhattan Federal Court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck on Thursday.

According to the complaint filed in court, the three men, along with other members of the robbery crew who remain at large, participated in gunpoint robberies of armored car operators between August and December.

Investigators said that on Aug. 24, Dec. 4, and Dec. 15, members of the crew robbed armored car operators of thousands of dollars in cash at gunpoint. During the Dec.15 robbery, a member of the crew exchanged gunfire with the operator of the armored vehicle before escaping on foot.

“Michael Santiago, a corrections officer entrusted with the safekeeping of the community, Kenneth Smith, and Bruce Collazo are charged with conspiring to conduct a series of brazen daytime armed robberies, provoking gun violence on busy streets, and putting lives at risk," Bharara said in a statement. "Together with our partners at the FBI and the NYPD, we are committed to keeping our neighborhoods safe by taking violent criminals off the streets.”

Santiago, 29, Smith, 34, and Collazo, 20, all of the Bronx, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of using or carrying firearms during and in relation to, or possessing firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence in which firearms were discharged.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a mandatory consecutive minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Bharara added that the investigation is continuing.

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