Crime ring led by man known as Willy Wonka shut down

Posted at 11:43 AM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-31 11:43:20-04

Massachusetts authorities say they have shut down a multistate ATM and vehicle theft ring run by a career criminal known as Willy Wonka or "the Chocolate Man."

The six-month investigation that led to five arrests was called Operation Golden Ticket and involved 50 law enforcement agencies.

William "Willy Wonka" Rodriguez was held on $500,000 bail after pleading not guilty Thursday to 60 charges connected to crimes in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut that netted more than $300,000 in property and currency.

Nelson Rodriguez was held on $60,000 bail after pleading not guilty to 44 charges.

They aren't related.

A third defendant was held on $1,000 bail. Two suspects remain at large.

William Rodriguez's attorney agreed with bail. Nelson Rodriguez's attorney said his client deserves the "dignity" of going home on bail.