12-time felons should only be at ‘work, church, and the grocery store’ Chicago judge tells man accused of trying to steal an ATM

Chicago — After prosecutors charged a 12-time convicted felon Bernardino Garcia with trying to steal an ATM from a Chicago apartment building on Saturday, Cook County Judge Maryam Ahmad offered some guidance from the bench.

“When you have 12 felony convictions,” Ahmad told Garcia,” it’s this court’s opinion the only place you need to go is work, church, and to the grocery store.”

And Garcia’s 12 convictions aren’t for small-time stuff: eleven are for armed robbery, and the twelfth is for conspiracy to commit murder. More on that in a minute.

Bernardino Garcia and Judge Maryam Ahmad | Chicago Police Department: For What It’s Worth

During Saturday’s court hearing, a prosecutor told Ahmad that Garcia helped a man named Arvin Basilio try to steal an ATM from an apartment complex in the 7000 block of North Kedzie last September. Basilio was previously charged.

Surveillance video showed three men trying to wrestle the ATM from its mounts after breaking through the building’s back door. When the machine refused to budge, they allegedly tied cargo straps around it and tried to pull it off with a car. The straps broke.

Police identified Basilio first because his distinctive hand tattoos were visible in surveillance footage, and he lowered his mask during the second break-in.

Sunday, a prosecutor said “a co-defendant” identified Garcia as one of the other burglars. Investigators matched pictures of Garcia from a law enforcement database to the surveillance videos.

Garcia was arrested Friday when sheriff’s deputies showed up to evict him from his house and determined that he was wanted by police, officials said.

Ahmad, citing Garcia’s “atrocious criminal history,” ordered him to pay a $20,000 deposit toward bail to go home on electronic monitoring.

Garcia’s “atrocious” record includes a conviction for participating in a gang’s plan to kidnap, murder, and dismember a rival gang member, according to prosecutors and a 2002 Chicago Tribune report.

Garcia and his co-conspirators met at Welles Park in Ravenswood and hatched a plan to kidnap the rival member, force him to reveal his drug stash hiding place, and then kill him and dismember his body, the report said.

Police were secretly monitoring the conversation and put the kibosh on those plans.