For the second time in 10 days, a drive-thru ATM in north Spokane was the target of rogue machinery.
At about 4 a.m. Wednesday, a forklift was stolen from the Wandermere Car Wash Plaza, at 12104 N. Division St., and driven across a Fred Meyer parking lot, where it rammed into a Banner Bank ATM on East Hastings Road.
The forklift did plenty of damage to the ATM’s outside dressings, and took out chunks of concrete from pillars holding up the drive-thru awning, but no cash was stolen.
“The ATM was not breached,” said Kelly McPhee, vice president of communications at Banner Bank. “Modern day ATMs are extremely safe and secure, and nearly impossible to breach.”
John Hansen, who owns the car wash where the forklift was stolen, was less lucky. The business owner said he was borrowing the lift from a friend, and had it parked in one of his car wash bays overnight.
He didn’t realize it was stolen until he saw it on the news, he said. He also said he couldn’t figure out why there were wooden pallets on the lift’s forks, as he had not put them there.
“God, look at that,” he said as he inspected the lift’s wiring, which had been cut and rearranged. “They tore that up. Hot wired it.”
Hansen said a surveillance camera caught two people stealing the lift at about 4 a.m. He said they both appeared to be white and left in a white pickup.
Deputy Mark Gregory, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said the attempted theft was called in just after 4:30 a.m. by a person who was in the Fred Meyer parking lot and heard “loud screeching noises.” They looked over and saw a man hitting the ATM with the forklift.
The witness told deputies the man looked to be an adult male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a green construction reflector vest. He left in a white pickup.
On Oct. 16, Spokane police responded to a similar incident along Northwest Boulevard. A person stole a front-loading tractor and drove it into a Washington State Credit Union ATM before abandoning the machine on the TJ Meenach Bridge.
No cash was stolen in that incident either. A suspect has not been found.
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