Thieves steal ATM machine, but get no cash

Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Thieves stole an automated teller machine in Willow Monday, but they didn't get any cash.

Alaska State Troopers found the machine destroyed about half a mile from the Matanuska Valley Federal Credit Union. All the money remained inside.

It was the fifth time thieves tried to steal that particular machine and the seventh attempt to steal an ATM in the area in the past few years.

''These people seem to think these ATMs are like piggy banks and you can go out and bust them open,'' said Greg Wilkinson, Alaska State Troopers spokesman. ''But it's not that simple.''

Troopers said Monday's theft capped an early morning crime spree. The suspects apparently stole tools from a mechanic's shop and broke into several vehicles before stealing a pickup truck. The thieves used the tools and the pickup to pull the machine from the arctic entry of the credit union.

No arrests have been made in this latest case or in any of the previous attempts. FBI officials say they suspect the same group is behind most of the thefts.

''We're probably dealing with some individuals who are trying to perfect their technique and failing miserably,'' said Bob Burnham, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Anchorage office.

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