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The FBI and local police in Texas and Arkansas are reviewing a new surveillance video that shows a pair of thieves using a forklift to rip an Automated Teller Machine from a bank’s drive-through lanes.
The Oct. 31 theft at the Prosperity Bank, in Palestine, Texas, is only the latest in a series of “Smash and Dash” forklift crimes across the two states. But it’s one of the first times investigators have been able to actually watch as the crime takes place.
Watch the Video Here: Forklift Used to Steal ATM at Texas Bank
A Violent Collision
In this video from KSLA-TV in Shreveport, Lousiana, one of the thieves is seen driving a stolen yellow Hyundai oversized forklift at a high rate of speed directly at the ATM machine. The resulting collision is so powerful that it literally rips the ATM from its moorings.
The thieves then used the forklift to pick up the dislodged ATM before driving away with it, according to local news reports.
The pair reportedly have been targeting ATMs from Dallas to Arkansas, in some instances hooking up chains to the ATMs before pulling them loose with heavy equipment.
Despite the video camera’s surveillance, the suspects were able to hide their identities from the camera — leading investigators to theorize they may be career criminals.
‘Smash and Dash’ Forklift Crimes
The Texas crime spree is just the latest in a type of crime that is growing in popularity.
In White House, Tennessee, detectives last year investigated two separate incidents involving stolen forklifts and burglarized ATMs.
The most recent attempted theft occurred October 29 at the Farmer’s Bank’s branch in the town, which is located about 22 miles north of Nashville. About 4:15 a.m., automated alarms caused police to rush to the bank, where they found the bank’s outside ATM lying on its side on the ground with a forklift still running nearby.
The suspects got away.
Smash and Dash crimes are especially popular in areas where there is a boom in housing — meaning a lot of construction sites containing unattended forklifts and drive-through banks with outdoor ATMs.
At the height of the 2006 housing boom in Phoenix, Arizona, for example, there were 21 attempted thefts of ATMs using forklifts. And it’s not just a US and UK phenomenon. Smash and Dash crimes also have been reported in Canada, New Zealand, Estonia, Scotland and Indonesia.