Local News

Johnston Thieves Bust Through Stores To Steal ATMs

Posted August 31, 2004

— Investigators in Johnston County are looking for suspects they say are driving a car into businesses to steal ATM machines.

Tony Southerland recently replaced his front doors at his Wilson's Mills store after thieves made a big entrance.

"[They] pulled up into this area and just backed all the way through the doors. They actually backed into the store," he said.

Investigators said after the driver slammed his car into the store, a group of people grabbed the ATM machine, threw it in the car and took off. They stole about $400 and caused $7,000 in damage to Southerland's store.

"[They're] pretty brazen and perhaps fortunate they didn't get caught red-handed," he said.

Investigators believe the same suspects using the same car targeted Dean's Grocery near the Wake-Johnston County line nearly three weeks ago. In that case, the people who broke in could not get the ATM out.

About six miles down the road, thieves stole an ATM machine from a Zebulon convenience store the same week. Police are still looking into whether it is tied to the others in Johnston County.

Surveillance cameras inside the Wilson's Mills store caught the entire incident from several angles. Those tapes are now at the State Bureau of Investigation lab. Investigators say the car is a burgundy Pontiac Bonneville with damage to the back end. If you see the vehicle, you are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office.

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