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HPD: Suspects try to break into ATM with grinder in northeast Houston

Monday, January 13, 2014
Would-be thieves leave empty handed Suspects try to break into ATM

Police are searching for at least three people who tried to break into an ATM with a grinder early this morning in northeast Houston.

It happened at the Chase Bank on Citypark Loop and the North 610 Loop just before 3am.

Chase Bank customers like Corina Rodriguez were stunned to hear details of the aggressive attempt at stealing an ATM.

"Especially because sometimes we come at night and it's dark and there's nobody around, you never know," Rodriguez said. "Somebody could try to get you when you try to get your money out."

Three suspects driving a stolen van set off the bank's alarm system. They were caught on surveillance cameras using a crowbar, sledgehammer and a grinder to try to get to the cash inside the machine.

"Apparently they used a sledgehammer and a pry bar to pry off the outer cover and then they used a motorized grinder to try to open the actual safe at the bottom of the machine," said Lt. Larry Crowson with the Houston Police Department.

When officers arrived, the three men scattered, leaving behind the stolen van and tools. Doug Sines has a nearby business and says he's familiar with the trio's method.

"That's the tool of thieves these days; battery operated grinders, because they cut right through locks and chains. You can't even hear them. I've had several pieces of equipment stolen just by that fact in the middle of the night," said Sines. "(They) cut the lock off with a battery operated grinder, and you never hear it."

Officers used K-9 units to search the immediate area for the suspects but didn't find them. The suspects didn't get away with any cash but the ATM is out of order because of the damage they caused.

Authorities say they vehicle left at the scene was reported stolen on January 9. If you who might be behind this crime, you're being asked to call police.

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