CLEVELAND – State lawmakers are stepping in to try to stop the rash of ATM smash-and-grab thefts that have become a nearly daily occurrence in greater Cleveland.
Often, suspects crash a stolen Dodge Grand Caravan through the doors of a closed convenience store and steal the ATM. Early Friday morning, two stores were targeted: Mike’s Convenient Food Mart on South Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights and Convenient Food Mart on Detroit Avenue in Cleveland.
“It's a lot of damage, it's loss of business for three, four days,” said Muhamad Jabar, whose sons own New Wave Market on Lorain Avenue, which was targeted Thursday.
Senate Bill 335, proposed by Senator Tom Patton, would create new regulations to require store ATMs to be secured to the floor and placed against a brick or concrete wall. It would also require more frequent servicing of ATMs with smaller amounts of cash.
“We're just very fortunate there hasn't been a child going in there to buy a pack of bubble gum that gets killed, and that inevitably is going to happen,” Patton said. “This is just something we had to address, and we're going to try to address it swiftly.”
He said he hopes to fast track the bill for passage, possibly by the end of this year. Patton said he will also explore creating harsher penalties for those who use vehicles to break in to businesses.