AUSTINBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) — Surveillance cameras were recording as a couple of brazen thieves used heavy construction equipment to try and steal an ATM at a local bank.
It happened just after 3 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 6, at an Andover Bank branch in Austinburg Township, outside Ashtabula.
Bank security video shows one of the men using a large forklift stolen from a nearby construction site to ram the ATM and knock the machine loose from its moorings. The suspect’s accomplice then pulled up in a stolen pickup truck and pushed the ATM from the bank drive-thru onto a side street.
Investigators believe the thieves planned to use the forklift to load the ATM into the back of the pickup, and then take it to a place where they could break into the cash boxes. But something happened that made them abandon the plan and they left empty handed.
“We don’t know what happened at that point — whether they got spooked, whether there were cars coming or what — but they fled the area,” said Lt. Steve Murphy with the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to capturing video of the suspects’ use of the stolen pickup and forklift to remove the ATM, bank cameras caught images of the two men wearing masks and gloves as the crime unfolded.
“I think this was quite an amateur crew. It was more of a smash-and-grab attempt, rather than a sophisticated ‘Let’s get in, break it open, get what we want and leave,'” said Lt. Murphy.
Investigators said two days after the attempted theft, the pickup truck was found abandoned on a country road. The cab of the truck was burned out after being set on fire.
“Most likely, it was an attempt to cover up any DNA evidence — not to mention the truck was stolen and they wanted to get rid of it,” said Murphy.
Detectives said it appears the same two men in the same stolen truck attempted to steal the very same Andover Bank ATM back on July 23. After that heist failed, detectives believe the suspects decided that the forklift would give them the edge they needed to steal the ATM, and that’s why they returned to the bank on Monday morning.
“With the ATM unit being outside, it’s kind of enticing for these type of amateurs to say, ‘Hey, I wonder what we can get here?’” said Lt. Murphy.
Anyone with information that will help authorities identify the two suspects is asked to call the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office at 440-576-0055.