Forklift Used as a Weapon in Jewelry Store Robbery

Police LineA man in China used a forklift to smash through the locked iron gate of a jewelry store there, then threatened to kill two store workers if they resisted the robbery attempt, police said.

The incident occurred about 3 a.m. Saturday, February 6, in Lianhua County of Jiangxi province, according to news accounts in the People’s Daily, the Chinese national newspaper.

The jewelry store owner’s son and his wife were working late inside Kin Liu Fook, a local branch of a Hong Kong-based jewelry chain — on Kangda West Road in the county’s busy business district. Suddenly, the couple saw a man outside who was wearing a motorbike helmet climb into a forklift.

Forklift Smashes Through Metal Gate

The man then used the vehicle to ram through the store’s locked metal security shutters. The man then climbed off the forklift, brandished a gun and an iron hammer and threatened to shoot the pair if they moved.

The suspect then began grabbing numerous items of jewelry.

Crashing through the gates with the forklift triggered an automatic alarm and police quickly arrived on the scene and arrested the suspect.

Forklift Crime in the US

Using a forklift to commit a crime isn’t just something that happens in China. It has happened here as well.

“Smash and Dash” is a type of popular new crime in which thieves use a stolen forklift to steal the contents of an ATM machine.

In September, police in Dickinson, North Dakota — a tiny town located about 97 miles west of Bismark that also is home to the Dakota Dinosaur Museum — said somebody stole an industrial-sized forklift to try to rob the ATM at the drive-in banking area of the local Wells Fargo bank branch.

 

But the North Dakota incident was only 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 of 2014 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’ on the Rise

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.

 

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