Thieves get crafty by using forklifts in ATM heists

Bank robberies are somewhat common in the news, but it’s not everyday that you hear about construction equipment being used in bank thefts. Lately, it seems thieves are getting more and more creative in their attempts – and the newest “trend” is hot-wiring forklifts at construction sites and then using them to steal automated teller machines.

According to USA Today, thefts of this type have occurred in states such as California, Georgia, and most prominently, in Arizona. At least 21 thefts have been reported in Phoenix alone this year.

Of course, not all of these heists end up being successful. Most of the time, robbers can be caught on security cameras or by guards – and its not as if they’re being quiet while completing the job, either.

ATMs in several states are bolted to brick walls, but in Phoenix the ATMs that were stolen were bolted to the ground and in an open area. According to USA Today, ATM manufacturers are not sure that developing a way to stop these thefts is worth it, since the money involved varies with each machine.

However, the ATM Marketplace website offers a solution for banks wishing to catch the culprits in the act. For a fee of $1,200 to $2,000, ATM machines can be equipped with global positioning technology, which helps lead police to the machine and possibly the thieves, as well.

Each machine consists of a concrete and steel vault, and those equipped with GPS often have an alarm that sounds when thieves try to break the vault open. Some machines with GPS also send a short message, similar to a text message, to the tracking center as soon as they are tampered with, according to ATM Marketplace.

Although, ATM manufacturers are not so quick to adopt GPS technology since they believe it still has some kinks to work out. Issues include satellite interference, which can limit effectiveness, and the cost of GPS for each machine, which seems to be the biggest concern.

Ron Christensen, president of Swipe USA, an ATM placement company, told ATM Marketplace that his company would most likely wait to see if GPS technology improves in the next few years.