Thieves use teamwork to muscle an ATM out of convenience store and into the backseat of car

Sheriff's office asking for help to find thieves

LAKE WALES, Fla. - Thieves typically target lighter items in smash-and-grab robberies, but that wasn't the case in Lake Wales early Thursday morning when two men ran off with an ATM.

Around 4 am at the Sunoco in Lake Wales, surveillance cameras caught a car slam throughout the front glass doors.

The video shows two men get out and walk through the doors and straight for the small ATM nearby.

It takes team work and every bit of strength to muscle the cash machine out from its upright posit.

"As you can see in the video, as they were wrestling it out of the door, it's rolling around so some pieces came off," said Carrie Eleazer, Spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

During their frenzy, the duo even forget to unplug the machine, causing it to get caught on the wall -- slowing down their dramatic exit.

Once they got the machine out of the door, deputies said the two men crammed the ATM into the backseat of a car. Investigators later found broken off pieces scattered throughout the parking lot.

The front doors have since been replaced, but some customers noticed the ATM has not.

"It's pretty pathetic that somebody would stoop that low," said Dan Young, who goes to the Sunoco daily.

Investigators don't know, or won't say, how much money was in the machine.

According to manufacturers of similar small ATM's, recently stocked machines may only have a couple thousand dollars inside.

The cash is locked in, but the sheriff's office suspects the thieves will find it.

"You can get in to almost anything," Eleazer said. "And with this machine, I think it's likely if they don't get caught, they'll get inside of it."

This type of smash and grab is actually rare in Polk County. Investigators said they haven't seen it in years.

Usually thieves go for something more moil and easier to conceal.

"They took a big risk with something so large, so we're hoping someone saw something," Eleazer said.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-226-TIPS or log onto www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments