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Durham Police Look For ATM Thieves

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DURHAM — Durham Police are trying to track down a gang of criminals who are literally dragging away the money.

Two men backed a pick-up truck through the glass doors at the Village Lanes Bowling Alley. They grabbed the ATM, and in two minutes, they were gone.

The owner does not want to be identified because the suspects are still at large, but she said they caused $80,000 in damage.

Police later found the stolen truck the suspects used to smash their way in. All the suspects left at the bowling alley were tire tracks and broken bolts.

"One of the reasons that this is a problem is that sometimes companies take the liberty to put the machines in their businesses, but they do not have an alarm system on the machine or they do not bolt it down properly," said Maj. Dwight Pettiford of the Durham Police Department.

The thieves did not get any money because the ATM was empty, but someone did score with some other machines that were stolen during a string of ATM thefts at fast food restaurants about six months ago.

Police want to shut down the suspects in this latest case before they start another crime wave. They are also encouraging business owners to make the machines tougher targets.

"That is one of the things that we are having our crime prevention office look into. How can we work with the companies on the installation of these machines? We want to offer a preventive measure to keep these machines from being broken into," said Pettiford.

Police in Raleigh and Wake Forest are also investigating similar crimes where people have been trying to steal cash machines from car washes.

Police say this has become a popular crime across the country.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Jim Young, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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