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'Straight To The ATM': As Chicago Area Thieves Target Cash Machines, Store Owners Work On Solutions To Curb The Crime

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There's new video of an ATM taking a beating from a pair of thieves in Hyde Park.

They slammed their bodies against the cash machine, ripping it from the floor of a gas station, eventually dragging the whole ATM right out the door. CBS 2's Steven Graves reports from Hyde Park where he's asking about solutions to get it to stop. While businesses and even legislators are eyeing solutions.

Hyde Park ATM Theft On Video by CBS Chicago on YouTube

One industry expert said time is proving there's only one sure way to end this. It's a crime that keeps on hitting Chicago and its suburbs year after year. Bold ATM thefts, like one early Monday morning one at a gas station in Hyde Park. Not even bolts could stop these burglars who body slammed the machine down. Video shows a similar tactic, playing out last week at a store on the North Side.

"Straight to the ATM..maybe the plotted. Time is a criminal's enemy."

That's why ATM security expert David Tente of the ATM Industry Association said the physical attacks on ATMs are rising, as fraud protection measures on machines get better. The problem is only spiking more since the pandemic.

Hyde Park ATM Theft On Video by CBS Chicago on YouTube

"We're seeing in New York City now, there's so much crime against ATMs," Tente said. "We're starting have concern the operators won't be able to get the insurance they need to operate."

Which could mean fewer places to get your cash. Tente said about 60% of ATM operators are at independent businesses, ones that have been rammed into by cars for those ATMs. That prompted state and local city leaders in Ohio, for example, to introduce legislation for businesses in 2016.

It requires barriers outside, certain length for bolts to go into the ground and putting machines to the back of stores. Tente said some states have lighting requirements, but passing laws around the issue is rare. His group is now advocating or stricter penalties for criminals.

"Because of the laws in many states, whether you steal a candy bar or break into an ATM, the crime is the same," Tente said.

Talks ongoing to help put an end to a crime costing many their money. There are also GPS and money-tainting software to get for ATMs, but they cost more money. There's no word from the Chicago Police Department or the Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office on if any talks are underway to deter this specific crime.

Hyde Park ATM Theft by CBS Chicago on YouTube


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