For Immediate Release
Philadelphia Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Blowing Up an ATM During Spring 2020 Civil Unrest
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that David Elmakayes, 26, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and three years of supervised release by United States District Court Judge Chad F. Kenney for using an explosive device to damage an ATM machine and for illegally possessing a firearm.
The defendant was charged on June 18, 2020, with malicious damage of property with an explosive device and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, charges which were the result of an incident that occurred during a period of civil unrest and protests in Philadelphia in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. In addition to the largely peaceful protests, incidents of looting, burglary, arson, destruction of property, and other violent acts occurred.
On the night of June 3, 2020, the defendant used an explosive device to heavily damage an automated teller machine on the sidewalk at 217 East Westmoreland Street in North Philadelphia. When he was arrested a short time later, police discovered that had three more explosive devices in his possession, as well as a .32 caliber pistol and other firearms.
“This defendant took advantage of a volatile situation on the streets of Philadelphia to commit a dangerous act that could have injured many people,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Damaging property with an explosive device and illegally carrying a firearm are federal crimes which our Office will aggressively prosecute. Elmakayes will now spend 15 years in prison for these crimes.”
“This defendant possessed and recklessly used an explosive device which had the potential to cause significant damage and injure countless people,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Office. “ATF is committed to protecting our communities from harm and working with our law enforcement partners to disrupt violent activity.”
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Philadelphia Fire Marshal’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph A. LaBar