ATM thefts up 10% nationwide, with thieves stealing one in Gardendale this week

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 10:18 PM CDT
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GARDENDALE, Ala. (WBRC) - Gardendale Police are working to track down a stolen Regions Bank ATM. They said the thieves used a forklift to take the machine.

Experts tell WBRC that ATM thefts are becoming more common nationwide, because once a thief knows how to take an ATM, it only takes minutes.

“Once they learn how to do this and master the skill, it doesn’t take very long to get an ATM out,” former Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ted Sexton said.

FBI officials report that ATM thefts are up 10% nationwide, with anywhere from 200 to 300 stolen a year. Sexton said ATM thefts tend to be part of regional trends.

“They usually run in regional areas,” Sexton said. “A group of individuals are usually involved in this, often times across state lines.”

Sexton said the machines can have anywhere from $40,000 to $250,000 in them, but they are layered with security.

“Once they learn how to do it, and how to overcome the security measures or the mechanisms that secure the ATM in the building, into construction, it probably takes three to five minuets,” Sexton said. “Different banks have different mechanisms that they use for security, so you may find brand new technology in an ATM.”

Sexton said you normally find the same individuals, or individuals associated with each other in crimes like this, and it’s one that is heavily punished at a state and federal level.

“It’s going to be a felony, basically anything over $1,000 becomes a felony in the state of Alabama,” he said. “You are burglarizing or a theft charge and since you’re dealing with the bank, you open yourself up to the federal government. There are a number of investigative techniques that make tracking these individuals down a little bit simpler.”

As of October 27, the Gardendale ATM is still missing.

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