Scottsbluff Police are investigating an attempted theft of an ATM on Sept. 14.
A patrolling police officer observed damages to a Platte Valley Bank ATM while on patrol, Sgt. Cody Enlow told the Star-Herald.
The officer had been in the area of Avenue B and West Eighth Street when he found a pickup, sitting on the wrong side of the roadway and in the middle of the lane, with its door open. No one had been observed by the vehicle or in the area, and the steering column of the vehicle had been punched. Officers believed the vehicle to have been stolen.
After the discovery, officers inspecting the area observed that the ATM at the Platte Valley Bank had been damaged, he said.
“It was evident that the ATM had been pried open,” he said.
Officers obtained surveillance video from the bank, observing two people, suspected to be men, who arrived at the bank in a truck, which was later determined to have been stolen from Kick Kars, located on Broadway and not far from the bank. The attempt takes about 2 minutes and the men move quickly, according to the surveillance video. Video of the surveillance video captured is available on starherald.com.
The men used chains with hooks, like those that tow services would use, and crowbars to try to open the ATM and then to try to remove the vault from the ATM. The men were not able to free the safe from the ATM and were not able to access it to get cash.
The men were dressed in like clothing, jogging pants, hooded sweatshirts and gloves, and both men wore masks, with one of them wearing a white and black mask and the other wearing a full black mask.
“At some point, they called it quits or they got spooked,” Enlow said, saying that video shows another vehicle traveling south on Avenue B. “They took their chains and left the area. They also left the pickup,” he said, saying it is assumed that the men had a third person assisting or had a vehicle waiting close buy.
Police arrived on the scene about an hour later, discovering the attempted theft. Surveillance video has been obtained and anyone with video that may be helpful to police can contact them as part of the investigation.
There have been reports of similar attempts to steal from ATMs in Nebraska in recent months, with reports in Bellevue, Omaha and Lincoln in August. According to ATM Marketplace, about 50 ATM thefts happen per day around the country. Allowing $2,500 for the ATM and $10,000 for repairs and loss of business, the cost of crash-and-grab theft comes to $625,000 per day, $19 million per month and $228 million per year. Similar theft or attempts have been reported in Nebraska and Wyoming throughout 2021.
Anyone with information about the thefts can contact the Scottsbluff Police Department, 308-632-7176, and talk to any officers on shift. Tips can also be reported to Crime Stoppers, which accepts anonymous tips and those persons may be eligible for a cash reward, by calling 308-632-STOP (7867).