Man admits to blowing up ATMs in Overland Park businesses as part of attempted robbery

·2 min read

A 44-year-old man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to blowing up ATMs in two Overland Park businesses in an attempt to steal the money inside, according to court records.

Josiah R. Lewis, of Grandview, admitted as part of a plea deal to a single count of felony arson in the U.S. District of Kansas. Federal prosecutors say Lewis used homemade improvised explosive devices to breach the teller machines, but was unsuccessful both times.

The case stemmed from two after-hours business bombings that occurred in April and July of 2021. It was investigated by municipal and county police alongside the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

According to court records, the first bombing took place April 29, 2021, at the Minit Mart convenience store at 11950 W. 135th St. Security footage from inside the store showed a break-in where an explosive device was planted on the store ATM in the early morning hours as the business was closed.

The explosion caused more than $10,000 in damage to the store, according to court records.

The second happened July 4, 2021, inside Maloney’s Sports Bar & Grill, 7201 W. 79th St. Security cameras captured a man inside the store running from the area of the ATM just before a flash and explosion.

In the second burglary, investigators found a rock inside the business near the bar that had been used to smash a glass door. The rock was sent to a criminal lab for analysis, and forensics experts found Lewis’ DNA on it.

Investigators also connected Lewis to the crimes based on footage of vehicles seen around the time of the explosion and a credit card purchase made at a 7-Eleven. He was also seen on surveillance cameras wearing a distinctive pair of shoes, according to authorities.

During the execution of a search warrant on Lewis’ Grandview residence, investigators reported finding burglary tools and two-way radios. Also discovered were four bottles of a 5-hour ENERGY drink containing explosive powder that were rigged with fuses.

Under the plea agreement, the government dismissed five other felony charges that were pending against Lewis. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the arson conviction.

Lewis is also required to provide financial restitution to both businesses as part of the plea agreement.