Police Chief: ATM Smash & Grabs Becoming Statewide Problem

CRANFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating after a group of thieves nearly made off with a bank ATM in New Jersey.

As CBS2’s Diane Macedo reported, what used to be the ATM at the TD Bank in Cranford, New Jersey is now just an empty case.

It’s the aftermath of a 4:30 a.m. heist, which the police chief said is becoming a statewide problem.

“They basically smash through the front doors of the bank. With cables and chains they tie the ATM machine, pull it out and then attempted to load the ATM machine into the pickup truck,” said Cranford Police Chief James Wozniak.

Police said once officers arrived, the suspects abandoned the truck and got into a nearby dark-colored Jeep.

Officers gave chase down Centennial Avenue to the Garden State Parkway.

“Fortunately enough, the actors fled leaving the ATM and the stolen pickup truck at the scene,” Wozniak said.

But other businesses in the area haven’t been so lucky.

In November alone thieves in pickup trucks attempted three different ATM robberies in Newark; two of them were successful.

On Jan. 13, a Clifton, New Jersey storefront was victim to an ATM smash and grab.

Then on Jan. 27, robbers slammed trucks into three storefronts in Newark and Bloomfield before stealing those ATMs.

“We are working with a number different jurisdictions to match up information to try and see if we can get this to end,” Wozniak said.

Still, TD Bank customers couldn’t believe the crime spree has now made its way to Cranford.

“I never would have expected this because it’s a good town,” said Esther Lindenbaum.

“You hear that and it’s like, that’s crazy. There’s no way. But evidently, there’s a way,” said Pete Burbella.

Wozniak said the thieves are still on the loose, but with local detectives and the FBI on the case, he’s confident that won’t be for long.

Police said they’ve returned the stolen pickup to its rightful owner. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to contact Cranford police at 908-272-2222.

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