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Fayette County man, son plead guilty in ATM theft

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 2:12 p.m.

A Fayette County father and son pleaded guilty Monday to charges stemming from the theft of an automated teller machine in 1997.

Thomas W. Rice Sr., 59, and Thomas W. Rice Jr., 28, both of Farmington RD1, entered their pleas before U.S. District Judge Donald Ziegler in Pittsburgh.

The elder Rice pleaded guilty to a charge of using a dangerous device during a bank theft, and the younger Rice pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and bank larceny, according to U.S. Attorney Harry Litman.

Authorities said the two and at least one other person stole a tiltbed truck in Uniontown, drove it to the First Philson Bank in Indian Head and then took the ATM from the drive-through area of that bank.

While making their getaway, the Rices used the elder Rice's pickup truck to force the vehicles of two witnesses off the road, officials said.

The machine was found buried in a wooded area known as 'the Glade,' which is near the Rices' residence. The FBI and state police used a backhoe to dig up the ATM.

Authorities said that before burying the machine, the Rices split it open and removed approximately $10,900.

The elder Rice is scheduled to be sentenced on July 13, and the younger Rice is to be sentenced on July 20.

The elder Rice faces up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The younger Rice faces up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

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