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Axe-Wielding Robbers Make Off With ATM In Brazen Middle Island Burglary

MIDDLE ISLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Axe-wielding robbers pulled off a brazen theft on Long Island overnight, getting away with an ATM.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, merchants fear it may be a case of serial burglars getting bolder.

The 1000-lbs machine was pried out of a cement floor at the Middle Island Laundromat on Friday morning.

"They didn't walk in, they forced their way in," the terrified clerk told CBS2 over the phone.

It was 3 a.m., the laundromat was open, but the doors were locked for safety. That's when two masked men armed with an axe, smashed through the glass door, and ordered him face down, threatening and kicking him before going to work on the cash machine.

"One guy was doing the ATM machine by himself and he took it out with his hands and a crowbar," he said.

The other suspect smashed and grabbed prizes out of two game machines.

"Ipads and cameras, phones with cash attached to it," employee Bernadette Lister said.

From there, the clerk said, the man dragged the ATM all the way across the floor to the back door where a getaway car was apparently waiting.

Surveillance video shows a car arriving behind the laundromat moments before the crime.

It's not the first strange break-in. Weeks ago a burglar smashed through the wall of a next door vacant store to enter a Chinese restaurant and steal cash. Last week burglars shattered the glass door of a Subway shop.

Suffolk County Police have not said if the cases were connected, but merchants see an aggressive pattern.

"It's very upsetting and scary. I was always safe here, but I don't feel safe anymore," Grace Podniesinski said.

One shopping center on Middle Country Road was hailed as lucky. A single $200 million lottery ticket was once sold there. Now, the merchants have given up on luck and will fortify surveillance cameras and lighting.

Police have released only a vague description of the ATM thieves, one was a white man, one was possibly Hispanic, both were shrouded in hoods and masks.


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