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Police Track Fast Lane Transponders To Catch Serial ATM Robbery Suspects

STOUGHTON (CBS) - A masked man was drilling his way to cash by hitting ATMs in convenience stores and gas stations all across the state, pulling off the heists in less than two minutes.

Stoughton Police Detective Sgt. Bob Welch said, "Quick wasn't the word. From the time he entered the store it was less than two minutes. From the time the front door of the store was drilled and he drilled the ATM and money was taken it was one minute, 50 seconds."

WBZ-TV's Jonathan Elias reports

Police say 20-year-old Thomas Coyne is the man behind the mask and 23-year-old Daniel Runyan is his partner in crime. Drills and hammers are some of the tools of their alleged illegal trade.

Welch said they worked in certain weather conditions, they preferred hard weather like snowstorms when there was no traffic around. They'd conduct surveillance of the places, make entries by drilling through doors and once inside, they'd drill through the ATMs.

The two men are accused of breaking into more than 30 stores in six different counties.

Many of the break-ins this past winter were caught on tape. The jeep the suspects were driving was spotted on surveillance.

WBZ-TV's Kathy Curran reports

The break in the case came when police made a realization that all of the targets were close to the highway, like the Cumberland Farms right off Route 24 in Stoughton.

"Once the suspect left the scene, he'd be picked up on a major highway within minutes," said Welch.

Detectives began tracking Fast Lane transponders and found that very Jeep hopping on and off the highway near the cities and towns that were hit.

Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany said, "The rest was dogged police work. It's amazing how one little slice of information broke it open."

Police from Middlesex, Norfolk, Essex, Hampden, Plymouth and Worcester Counties formed a task force to break the case. Good police work, surveillance cameras and a transponder finally put an end to the drilling and the alleged thieves' three-month-run.

Police say they found tens of thousands of dollars in cash and several drills and tools in one of the suspects' homes. Coyne and Runyan have been indicted on multiple charges in Middlesex and Norfolk Counties. More charges are expected in the case.

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