Second time still unlucky for bungling ATM thief wannabe

The explosion only managed to dislodge the ATM’s front cover. — Picture by R. Mahgeshan
The explosion only managed to dislodge the ATM’s front cover. — Picture by R. Mahgeshan

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GEORGE TOWN, March 30 — The bungling thief who tried to blow open an automated teller machine (ATM) using firecrackers on March 11 struck again for the second time in Sungai Nibong yesterday.

Once again, he aborted his plan to break open the ATM located at a bank when the alarm triggered. His second attempt was more or less similar to his first, when he used self-made explosives.

In the incident, the masked robber, wearing his trademark black jacket, a helmet with tinted visor and a pair of gloves, entered the bank premises at 3.45am.

Southwest police chief Supt Lai Fah Hin said closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed the thief placing a box on top of the ATM.

“After that, he could be seen moving away. A few seconds later, the box exploded, dislodging the front cover of the machine,” Lai said.

“The bank alarm triggered and the thief fled on a motorcycle parked outside the bank.”

Lai said initial investigations by a police team, including the forensic unit and bomb squad who arrived at the scene 45 minutes later, revealed the man had used  a pipe bomb using powder from firecrackers.

“We believe the thief is the same person who damaged an ATM at a bank in Bukit Jambul, Bayan Baru, on March 11,” he said.

“The method in both attempted thefts was the same.”

He said the explosion did not damage the vault containing the cash.

“Investigations are under way to identify the thief, who we believe acted on his own.”

On March 11, the thief, who also wore a helmet, black jacket and gloves, tried to blow open an ATM using firecrackers.

The minor explosion dislodged the ATM’s front cover, cracked one of the glass panels at the bank and set off the alarm.

CCTV footage showed the man fleeing towards a white car parked outside.

The two incidents are the latest involving ATMs. On Feb 23, thieves had dragged an ATM using cables in front of a factory in Jalan Kebun, Klang. They abandoned it by the roadside.

Previous thefts involved explosives, a back hoe, an excavator, steel cables and other techniques.

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