Police in Quiet English Town Facing Forklift Crime Spree

Police LinePolice in the northern English town of Rotherham say a gang of thieves have been using forklifts to steal ATM machines in the middle of the night.

The most recent attempted theft occurred about 2:50 a.m. Tuesday, when the criminal gang targeted an ATM at the Spar Market Place convenience store in the neighbor hood of Tickhill. The thieves were able to use the forklift to pry the machine off the wall.

When police arrive on the scene, they surprised the suspects, who jumped into two vehicles — a Nissan Navara and a Ford  Focus — and led the officers on a high speed chase through the town’s empty streets, according to a Rotherham police spokeswoman.

“A significant number of police resources were directed to the scene and pursued the vehicles,” the spokeswoman told the Rotherham Advertiser. “It is reported that one of the suspects in the Focus threatened the officers with violence during the pursuit.”

Nobody was injured in the chase. The gang got away and are still at large. One of the getaway cars — the Ford Focus, which turned out to be stolen — was recovered at a nearby mobile home park.

A Forklift Crime Spree

Tuesday’s attempted ATM theft may have been the work of the same gang of thieves who targeted another machine the day before in nearby Stainforth.

In fact, detectives from several area police departments are comparing notes on a number of similar theft that have been reported throughout the South Yorkshire region of  England in recent months.

“A number of similar thefts have occurred across South Yorkshire and in neighboring force areas in recent months,” said the police spokeswoman. “Detective are working together to establish any patterns or connections.”

‘Smash and  Dash’ Forklift Crimes

Police on this side of the Atlantic are facing the same types of issues.

In White House, Tennessee, detectives continue to investigate two separate incidents involving stolen forklifts and burglarized ATMs.

The most recent attempted theft occurred Wednesday, 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.

ATM thefts involving stolen forklifts are becoming so common that they already have their own nickname: “Smash and Dash”.

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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