Police Nab Gang That Specialized in ATM Thefts

YERUSHALAYIM -
A man cashes out money from an ATM machine in Yerushalayim. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Police overnight Tuesday arrested a gang of thieves who specialized in robbing cash machines – not just the cash in them, but the machines themselves. The six Arab residents of the Nachal Ashan neighborhood of Be’er Sheva are to be indicted on Wednesday, police said.

The gang has been operating for more than a year, and has stolen at least five automatic teller machines throughout southern Israel. They specialized in “free-standing” machines that are placed outside grocery stores and malls, which are not affiliated with any specific bank. Many of these machines are outdoors, and using a truck and iron chains, the thieves would simply rip the machines out of the ground by tying up the machine in chains and attaching the other end of the chains to their truck. They would then take the machines to their lair, where they would break into it and extract the cash. The gang was caught after it tried to steal a machine in Be’er Sheva and was caught in the act, police said.

IDF soldiers overnight Tuesday raided and shut down a toy store in the Arab Shomron town of Jenin – which was selling illegal weapons, in the guise of toys. The store had a whole section of “toy” guns which turned out to be the real thing. At least 15 firearms were seized. The owners of the store were arrested, and the store’s stock seized for evidence.

Overnight Tuesday, security officials said they arrested 23 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.