ATM Heist Ends in Vain

By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Customers pulling up to get some cash out of the ATM at the Bradley Park CB&T Friday didn't have a place to swipe their bank cards.

That's because the entire machine was hoisted away in the middle of the night by some crafty criminals.

They used a backhoe from the construction site at the new Rob Doll Nissan across the street and a stolen getaway truck.

Police don't yet know how the suspect got the machine started but once they did, they used it to level the ATM and load it in the back of the pick up truck.

A security officer coming to work at the bank spotted the ATM in the back of the truck and tried to pull it over but the driver led them on a wild ride into Phenix City.

"Once he tried to ram him and run him off the road several times, he backed off a little bit to where he could just keep the vehicle in sight. The vehicle turned into an area and the suspect fled the vehicle. The vehicle was abandoned with the ATM in it," said Lieutenant Gil Slouchick with the Columbus Police Department.

Officials with Columbus Bank and Trust say this is the first time they've had an entire ATM stolen but believe it or not, authorities say this type of crime is happening more often than you'd think.

"This appears to be a trend in the southeastern United States. The ATMs in the area of construction sites- people seem to be using the equipment to dislodge and load them up in the vehicle," Slouchick said.

In this case, whoever is responsible got away but not with much.

"We recovered the stolen vehicle with the ATM and the contents of the ATM. The bad guy got away with nothing," the Lieutenant said.

Police are having surveillance video from the bank being enhanced to help identify the suspect or suspects.

The owner of Phillips Construction, who is working on the new Nissan facility, says he does not think anyone in his company was involved in the crime and adds the machines are operated by universal keys.