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Mission Valley and Valley Center ATMs attacked

Slim Jim, power saw, pry bar, wire cutters

Chase Bank ATM in Mission Valley
Chase Bank ATM in Mission Valley

On February 7, the San Diego Police Department posted on Facebook about a January 23 break-in at a Chase Bank ATM at 5111 Mission Center Road in Mission Valley. SDPD said one of their police officers drove by that early morning and caught a man actively breaking into the ATM. The incriminating photos depicted a compromised gray- and blue-colored automated teller machine (ATM) and a black-colored duffel bag with a Slim Jim tool, power saw, pry bar, and wire cutters.

H.M. lives up the street from the Mission Valley bank's ATM about a block north of the I-8. "I didn't see anything until after it happened," she said to me on February 22. "All it was was yellow tape around it saying it was out of service."

The ATM sustained about $10,000 in damages, and the unidentified man was arrested for possession of burglary tools and commercial burglary. "Good catch, guys," H.M. exclaimed.

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More than two weeks before, at about 3:30 am on January 6, deputy sheriffs were called to the Chevron gas station in Valley Center about a different ATM.

"The truck dragged the ATM through the parking lot and went northbound on Valley Center Road."

"The truck dragged the ATM through the parking lot and went northbound on Valley Center Road, and deputies were able to locate the truck, and a pursuit was initiated," said News Flash Media. The media page continued, saying the ATM was left behind by the Lilac Road and Old Castle Road, and the truck "made a successful getaway from law enforcement."

"The sheriff has been very responsive, and for the large area they cover, they respond amazingly quickly," Dave Bohorquez said to me on February 22. "There is something going on around there weekly: work trucks vandalized, businesses broken into, a car stolen by a tow truck right off my lot, my ice machine broken into. It just adds up."

Bohorquez, from Murietta, is all too familiar with the ATM heists: his ATM was stolen from his Valley Center business on January 13, 2021. He continued, "The total loss and damages were around $10,000: our doors needed to be replaced, a new ATM machine, repairs, and product loss." The surveillance video depicts two individuals strapping what appears to be a chain around the ATM and pulling it through the glass doors with a Toyota Tundra. "They found the stolen truck that was used and the ATM, but there was never an arrest made," Bohorquez added.

On a quick search online, another person in the Valley Center area commented that their business was "robbed .... on Monday morning …. ATM and all."

"I don't feel this is a county problem," Bohorquez opines. "It's a state problem. I know of arrests made, and before the deputies have even finished the paperwork, the criminals are back in town .... The system is flawed. The local deputies take the heat from the citizens — but how would you feel? What if every article you wrote, your editor took, read, then threw it out, and nothing was ever published? Would you get tired and stop writing? The deputies have to keep working, but it has to be frustrating."

Around the same time the Chase Bank ATM was broken into, some San Diego County dwellers considered flying to Orlando, Florida, to later attend the ATMIA U.S. Conference 2022, on February 8-10. ATMIA, Automated Teller Machine Industry Association, is a non-profit trade association representing the global ATM industry. "The rate of physical attacks on ATMs has been increasing – particularly since the beginning of the pandemic," says the conference's site. "It seems as if successful efforts to reduce fraud attacks have driven criminals to rely on methods that are more low-tech than hi-tech. Pockets of 'smash and grab' attacks pop up randomly in cities across the country. Explosive attacks in the U.S., once quite rare, are now occurring more frequently. Even vandalism has spiked. Our group of physical security experts includes law enforcement and solution providers who will discuss these and other types of attacks, how the criminals work, and strategies for mitigating many different types of threats."

You have to be a member of the conference site to view the 2021 statistics. 3SI, a circa-1971 security solution company that attends the ATMIA conferences, broke down the 2020 ATM burglary numbers on their site. "According to data from the ABA's [American Banker's Association's] ATM Crime Taskforce, total ATM burglary incidents jumped by 164 percent from 2019 to 2020. Another notable increase? Hook and chain burglaries .... rose by 138 percent in frequency in 2020. Cash losses from ATM burglaries reported were $13.5 million, and property damage came in at a total near $27.7 million. These are startling numbers to view and demonstrate the need to bring awareness to the current trends at the conference.

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Chase Bank ATM in Mission Valley
Chase Bank ATM in Mission Valley

On February 7, the San Diego Police Department posted on Facebook about a January 23 break-in at a Chase Bank ATM at 5111 Mission Center Road in Mission Valley. SDPD said one of their police officers drove by that early morning and caught a man actively breaking into the ATM. The incriminating photos depicted a compromised gray- and blue-colored automated teller machine (ATM) and a black-colored duffel bag with a Slim Jim tool, power saw, pry bar, and wire cutters.

H.M. lives up the street from the Mission Valley bank's ATM about a block north of the I-8. "I didn't see anything until after it happened," she said to me on February 22. "All it was was yellow tape around it saying it was out of service."

The ATM sustained about $10,000 in damages, and the unidentified man was arrested for possession of burglary tools and commercial burglary. "Good catch, guys," H.M. exclaimed.

Sponsored
Sponsored

More than two weeks before, at about 3:30 am on January 6, deputy sheriffs were called to the Chevron gas station in Valley Center about a different ATM.

"The truck dragged the ATM through the parking lot and went northbound on Valley Center Road."

"The truck dragged the ATM through the parking lot and went northbound on Valley Center Road, and deputies were able to locate the truck, and a pursuit was initiated," said News Flash Media. The media page continued, saying the ATM was left behind by the Lilac Road and Old Castle Road, and the truck "made a successful getaway from law enforcement."

"The sheriff has been very responsive, and for the large area they cover, they respond amazingly quickly," Dave Bohorquez said to me on February 22. "There is something going on around there weekly: work trucks vandalized, businesses broken into, a car stolen by a tow truck right off my lot, my ice machine broken into. It just adds up."

Bohorquez, from Murietta, is all too familiar with the ATM heists: his ATM was stolen from his Valley Center business on January 13, 2021. He continued, "The total loss and damages were around $10,000: our doors needed to be replaced, a new ATM machine, repairs, and product loss." The surveillance video depicts two individuals strapping what appears to be a chain around the ATM and pulling it through the glass doors with a Toyota Tundra. "They found the stolen truck that was used and the ATM, but there was never an arrest made," Bohorquez added.

On a quick search online, another person in the Valley Center area commented that their business was "robbed .... on Monday morning …. ATM and all."

"I don't feel this is a county problem," Bohorquez opines. "It's a state problem. I know of arrests made, and before the deputies have even finished the paperwork, the criminals are back in town .... The system is flawed. The local deputies take the heat from the citizens — but how would you feel? What if every article you wrote, your editor took, read, then threw it out, and nothing was ever published? Would you get tired and stop writing? The deputies have to keep working, but it has to be frustrating."

Around the same time the Chase Bank ATM was broken into, some San Diego County dwellers considered flying to Orlando, Florida, to later attend the ATMIA U.S. Conference 2022, on February 8-10. ATMIA, Automated Teller Machine Industry Association, is a non-profit trade association representing the global ATM industry. "The rate of physical attacks on ATMs has been increasing – particularly since the beginning of the pandemic," says the conference's site. "It seems as if successful efforts to reduce fraud attacks have driven criminals to rely on methods that are more low-tech than hi-tech. Pockets of 'smash and grab' attacks pop up randomly in cities across the country. Explosive attacks in the U.S., once quite rare, are now occurring more frequently. Even vandalism has spiked. Our group of physical security experts includes law enforcement and solution providers who will discuss these and other types of attacks, how the criminals work, and strategies for mitigating many different types of threats."

You have to be a member of the conference site to view the 2021 statistics. 3SI, a circa-1971 security solution company that attends the ATMIA conferences, broke down the 2020 ATM burglary numbers on their site. "According to data from the ABA's [American Banker's Association's] ATM Crime Taskforce, total ATM burglary incidents jumped by 164 percent from 2019 to 2020. Another notable increase? Hook and chain burglaries .... rose by 138 percent in frequency in 2020. Cash losses from ATM burglaries reported were $13.5 million, and property damage came in at a total near $27.7 million. These are startling numbers to view and demonstrate the need to bring awareness to the current trends at the conference.

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