ATM burglary a loud failure
Sun., Oct. 1, 2006
For several minutes Saturday morning, burglars in downtown Rockford made little effort to hide their attempt to pull an ATM from a bank lobby with a pickup.
But with a 40-minute lag between the time sheriff’s deputies were called and their arrival, the culprits easily escaped capture – though without any loot.
Clanging chains and squealing tires woke Todd Hart, owner of Hart’s Liquor.
When Hart looked out his window, he saw two men with a pickup backed up to the foyer of Farmers & Merchants Bank, 2 N. First St.
Hart said his clock read 5:05 a.m. when he called 911. He said the burglars were on the scene at least five minutes as he detailed what he saw to an operator and even held the phone out the window so dispatchers could hear the commotion outside.
Hart said he was concerned by the slow response.
“It wasn’t like I was saying the neighbors are being rowdy,” Hart said. “It was a big thing.”
Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan, however, said records showed the Sheriff’s Office got its first call on the burglary at 5:10 a.m. and that their first report indicated that the culprits already had left the scene westbound.
Reagan confirmed that it took deputies 40 minutes to get to the scene. He said they likely were delayed because the event happened in the midst of a shift change. Deputies serving all parts of the county except Spokane Valley start their shifts at the Public Safety Building near downtown Spokane, Reagan said.
The burglars, who wore hooded sweat shirts, placed chains through holes they punched on each side of the ATM and connected them to a pickup, Reagan said. The machine was in the bank’s unlocked foyer.
The truck pulled the machine from its base, but the ATM got unhitched from the pickup in the process, Reagan said. Burglars fled without the ATM or any cash.
“We’ve had a lot of attempts to steal ATMs,” Reagan said. “Generally, they are unsuccessful.”
The pickup used by the burglars later was found in a field at Jackson and Valley Chapel roads.
Reagan said it belongs to an inmate inside Geiger Corrections Center. Investigators were unsure Saturday afternoon if it had been stolen or borrowed.
The Sheriff’s Office requests that anyone with information on the burglary to call (509) 242-8477.
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