Archive for Wednesday, May 22, 2002

FBI seeks suspects in ATM burglary

May 22, 2002

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking suspects in a break-in at an automatic teller machine at Community National Bank in Tonganoxie.

The break-in occurred about 11:50 p.m. Sunday at the bank, which is at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 24-40 and Main Street. The machine is on the south side of the bank.

"We don't have any suspects at this time," said Jeff Lanza, FBI special agent. "We believe it was a very professional job, in that they cut specific phone lines."

Those lines connect an alarm system to the ATM, he said.

"Out of a group of phone lines that were there," he said, "they knew which ones to cut, and those were cut, along with lights in the area. They knew what they were doing. We assume it was more than one person."

And while the FBI routinely does not disclose how much money is missing from bank thefts, Lanza said, "All the cash was gone from the machine."

Lanza said extreme force was used to open the ATM.

"They're very difficult to break into, especially the ones that are outside," he said. "We don't see too many ATM burglaries because the machines are so difficult to get into. So you don't see them often. From time to time, people will try to break into them."

The investigation into the incident is continuing.

"There were cameras there, but we haven't had a chance to look at the specific time on that tape, and we're not sure what it's going to show," Lanza said.

The burglary was detected Monday morning by Community National Bank employees, according the branch president, Bill Altman.

For now, customers who want to make automatic withdrawals will have to use other banks' machines. "We hope to have it replaced by Friday afternoon and have our customers back in service by Friday evening," Altman said. "We do realize what an inconvenience this is for our ATM customers. And we are refunding any foreign ATM charges our customers may incur because our ATM is inoperable."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.