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ATM torn apart in south Reading; stolen SUV crashed nearby

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 03 2012 09:59:29 AM CDT
Updated On: Oct 03 2012 07:15:41 PM CDT

Police investigate 'crash and grab' ATM thefts

READING, Pa. -

An attempted "crash and grab" theft in Reading was caught on camera early Wednesday morning.

A driver behind the wheel of a stolen SUV tried to get money out of an ATM at South 11th and Spruce streets, and he struck before, said police.

It's being called a bold and bizarre cash withdrawal. Surveillance video captured the man behind the wheel of a stolen Jeep Cherokee slam into an ATM machine around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

"It sounded like a car crash. That's what I first thought it was, two people hitting each other," said Aubrey Fisher, who lives down the street from the incident.

"I thought he might have come around the corner too fast, and with it being wet, he slid into a van," said Robert Bryson, who lives across the street from the scene.

The video tells the real story of what happened outside Anthony's Deli and Grocery. The Jeep rammed the ATM two times before the driver got out, checked the scene, then got back behind the wheel for a third hit. That's when the machine came crashing down, and the driver sped off.

"I don't know what his emergency was, but it looked like he had a real emergency for money," said Domingo Gibbs, who owns the store.

The SUV was found dumped a few blocks away in an alley behind the 1300 block of Perkiomen Avenue, near Spruce Street, and the ATM was left destroyed.

"There was no money missing from the compartment in the machine," said Sgt. John Solecki, Reading Police Department.

A similar scene unfolded 24 hours earlier at Misael Deli & Grocery in the 100 block of West Oley Street around 4 a.m.

Another ATM was slammed into by another stolen SUV. This time, police said, the driver made off with cash, and they do believe the incidents are connected.

"In both incidents the actor used a Jeep Cherokee, which he had stolen prior to the offense," said Solecki. "They made a lot of noise, and they were there for over a minute."

At this point, there have been no arrests. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert Berks County at 877-373-9913.