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'Brazen' Suspect Has Been Blowing Up ATMs in Florida

Latest Tampa Bay explosion yielded cash, police say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2020 5:19 AM CST

(Newser) – Police in the Tampa Bay area aren't sure who has been blowing up ATMs—but they strongly suspect it is the same suspect who was seen spray-painting the lenses of surveillance cameras shortly before the explosions. There have been three ATM explosions in the area over the last few months, most recently late Jan. 11 or early Jan. 12 at a Regions Bank in Valrico, WFLA reports. "I think when you're setting off some type of bomb device, that's an extremely brazen individual," Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told reporters Monday. Police believe the suspect in the ATM explosions is also responsible, possibly with an accomplice, for multiple other cases of ATM vandalism that did not involve blasts.

Chronister said that the first two explosions did not yield any cash, but the one over the weekend apparently did, the Tampa Bay Times reports. "Now that he's finally accessed some cash, that’s certainly what I’m afraid of," he said. "How sophisticated, how experienced is this individual, and where does he go from here? We need to get this individual to make sure there’s no more threat to public safety." He said he learned this week that the explosives were being detonated at the scene, not remotely as he initially feared. "I was worried that one of us as innocent bystanders would go to the ATM to access cash and could be inadvertently hurt or killed," the sheriff said. (Read more Florida stories.)

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