Reporter/Lynchburg Bureau Chief
5:39 PM EST, December 4, 2012
CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Va.
They're heavy, bolted to the ground, and usually sit in populated areas.
You wouldn't expect an automatic teller machine to get stolen, but that's exactly what's happening in southern Virginia.
"It's just amazing to me that someone would actually do this," said Bobby Howard, president and chief executive officer for The Bank of Charlotte County.
In 50 years of banking, Howard has never seen anyone take anyone take off with an ATM - until this week.
"It never occurred to me until recently that someone would jerk it out of the foundation its sitting on," Howard said.
In Keysville Monday, thieves stole a front end loader from a saw mill and a dump truck from the Virginia Department of Transportation. They used the heavy equipment to try to steal an ATM from the BB&T bank branch on King Street,
"That's the first time I've heard of using a front end loader," said Howard. "It indicates to me that these folks must have some expertise in running and a machine like that."
Surveillance photos provided by the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office show a large front end loader approaching the Keysville ATM. The thieves didn't get away with the machine, because their stolen equipment got tangled up in utility lines.
"It was a lot of effort that came away with a lot of damage, but no money and no cash," said Captain Howard Hobgood, who is investigating the robbery for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.
Hobgood says Monday's attempted robbery could be linked to eight break-ins that happened in Keysville two weeks ago and another ATM robbery in Halifax County. Someone drove a truck through the wall of a convenience store on Route 58 November 20 and stole the teller machine inside
"It concerns us a lot that this is going on," said Hobgood.
Stealing an ATM may be more trouble for the theives than the crime is worth.
"These machines, even after you take them, are very difficult to get into," said Howard.
ATM's have a large safe that's nearly impossible to open. The machine in Keysville also had a camera that recorded everything, which means the investigators should be able to track down the robbers.
"It's a fascinating case," said Howard. "I'm going to be really interested to see who did it."
Surveillance video from the ATM was recorded in another location. The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office is working on getting that video from BB&T. Once they have a chance to review it, detectives hope to identify the people involved.
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