Arkansas thieves take bank ATM - but not its cash

July 2, 2008 7:34:10 PM PDT
Thieves in northwest Arkansas made a huge withdrawal at a bank - they took a whole automated teller machine with them. Bella Vista police said the thieves early Monday used a stolen front-end loader to tear the 3,200-pound ATM from its bolts at a Pulaski Bank branch.

After examining several surveillance photos, police determined that at least two men used a heavy chain attached to a Caterpillar loader to pull the ATM loose, then placed it in the bed of a stolen Dodge pickup truck.

Two hours after the theft, sheriff's deputies said they found the truck and ATM. Police said all the machine's money remained inside - the thieves weren't able to open it.

"No cash was taken," said Beth Ardoin, executive vice president and director of communications for Pulaski Bank. "They were unable to open the ATM. It had not been compromised."

In fact, Ardoin said the machine, with only minor repairs, could be placed back into operation very soon.

The bank declined to reveal how much money was in the machine.

Bella Vista Police Chief Jim Wozniak said this is the first time anyone has stolen an ATM in Bella Vista.

"We've had people beat on ATMs, trying to break in, but we haven't had anyone take one," Wozniak said.