ATM smash and grabs possibly tied to theft ring - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

ATM smash and grabs possibly tied to theft ring

The damage at the Mosses Meat Market (Source: WSFA 12 News) The damage at the Mosses Meat Market (Source: WSFA 12 News)
The same truck used to drive into the Mosses Meat Market also plowed into the Hayneville Associated Grocers. (Source: WSFA 12 News) The same truck used to drive into the Mosses Meat Market also plowed into the Hayneville Associated Grocers. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Investigators are looking into a possible link to a similar crime at the Z-Tec in Dallas County's Safford community Wednesday. (Source: WSFA 12 News) Investigators are looking into a possible link to a similar crime at the Z-Tec in Dallas County's Safford community Wednesday. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
LOWNDES CO., AL (WSFA) -

Police believe the same crew of criminals could be behind several destructive burglaries in Lowndes County, as well as another incident in Dallas County.

Investigators have been able to link some of the crimes. They believe the same suspects could have been responsible for ATM thefts that left thousands of dollars in damages at local businesses.

In all of the cases, thieves drove trucks into the stores and took the ATMs to steal the cash inside.

“It’s just nonsense. A person driving a vehicle into someone’s business is just nonsense. It’s someone who just don’t care. It’s just outrageous to do a business that way. We want to let the business owners know that we’re working on it. They’ve been very cooperative,” said Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams.

Officials think members of a theft ring could be working together to commit the break-ins.

According to investigators in Lowndes County, the same stolen truck that was used to plow into the Mosses Meat Market this week was also the one used earlier this month to drive into the Hayneville Associated Grocers on Highway 21.

It happened on June 6 between 2 and 3 a.m. A white Ford F-250 or F-350 backed into the front of the store, causing part of the front of the building to collapse.

Two men dressed in black with their faces covered got out of the truck, ran into the store and tried to physically rock the ATM out of the ground inside the grocery store, but they were unsuccessful and quickly left empty handed.

 “It was bolted to the floor. They only spent about 15 seconds in the store attempting to remove it. Once they figured out that they couldn’t remove it, then they exited the store quickly. There was over $10,000 worth of damage to the structure of that building,” said Hayneville Police Chief Kelvin Mitchell.

Early Wednesday morning, police say the same truck drove into the front of the Mosses Meat Market and the ATM was rocked out of the floor by the suspects. They then picked the machine up and threw it into the back of the truck and drove off.

While there was no tag on the truck, several distinct features on it led police to make the connection.

The loot the suspects got away with was nowhere near the amount of damage left behind at the stores.

“We really hate it because of what it’s doing to the businesses. At Hayneville A&G, it cost them a ton of money to get the whole front redid. It caused so much damage and they didn’t get anything out of the store,” Sheriff Williams said.

Authorities are also looking to see if the Lowndes County burglaries are connected to a similar incident at a store in Dallas County’s Safford community. In that case, another stolen truck was used and the ATM was chained to the truck and yanked out of the ground.

The suspects drove off dragging the ATM behind the truck and when they got to a dirt road nearby, they rammed the ATM repeatedly with the front of the truck until it broke open, exposing the money inside.

No one was injured in the break-ins. They occurred when the businesses were closed.

Multiple law enforcement agencies are involved in the investigation, including Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Hayneville Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and Montgomery Police Department.

On Thursday, authorities were working on several developing leads.

“We hope, by all of our agencies working together, that we can make an arrest pretty soon and stop all of this,” Sheriff Williams said.

Chief Mitchell said several findings point towards the possibility of a ring of criminals working together to target businesses and their ATMs.

“The information we have so far indicates that there is a ring because there are two different trucks that we know of. The suspects appear to be similar in each of the incidents that we have video of,” the chief explained.

Both trucks, according to investigators, were stolen from Montgomery. The truck used in the Dallas County burglary was taken from a propane company and the one used in the Lowndes County burglaries was taken from a supply company.

“The fact that they were stolen from another area also speaks to this being a ring. They’re looking to break into businesses and remove the ATM machines. That is the goal they have each and every time. From all of the videos we have, not a single thing is touched other than the ATM machines,” Chief Mitchell said.

Surveillance video of the crimes has not yet been released.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly