ATM Thefts On the Rise

Non-bank teller machines make easy targets, police say
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 3, 2008 7:25 PM CDT
Already this year, authorities report more than 140 ATM thefts in North Texas alone, mainly in the Dallas area.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – ATM theft is a labor-intensive crime: You have to steal a pickup, slam it through a gas station storefront, and haul the ATM out. But that’s exactly what an increasing number of criminals are doing, MSNBC reports. From 2000 to 2006, thieves nabbed about 120 ATMs a year across the country. This year, authorities already have reported 140 thefts—in north Texas alone. While that's an extreme example, thefts are up by smaller amounts all over.

Bank ATMs are heavily fortified, and stealing them is a federal felony, but stealing a machine from a gas station or kiosk is only criminal mischief or simple theft in most jurisdictions. To combat the crime, manufacturers are implanting tellers with GPS chips to track them once they’ve been stolen but before the crooks can crack the vault.