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FBI Investigating ATM Robberies

A rash of ATM thefts during December and January are similar in methods, but scattered in locations. Three took place in Central New Jersey. Others in the South and Southwest.

The methods are like those we saw a few years ago from an organized group called the YACS - gangs from the former countries of Yugoslavia, Albania, Croatia and Serbia. Their through-the-roof robberies specialized in food and convenience stores - torching open the safes once inside. The ATM thieves operating now, however, instead of coming through the roof of the financial institution to get at the in-house ATM, are cutting through the roof of an adjoining business and then coming through the cinder-block walls into the bank. Once inside, torches are used to access the ATM, which is then emptied.

As in the YACS robberies, the tools that were used were stolen from local construction businesses, and left behind. Alarm lines were cut, but police, suspecting false alarms, did not respond in time to catch the burglars. There are surveillance photos of some of the action, and the FBI is also checking lists of recently released convicts who used these methods. Financial institutions being federally insured, a bank burglary can result in a 20 year sentence.

The Newark FBI office is coordinating the investigation - (973) 792-3000.

Copyright © 2005 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 14, No. 12, 1/05

First published on 01/01/2005

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