MADISON (WKOW) — All it took was two thieves, a chain with a hook at the end, a U-Haul van and nearly two minutes for an attempt to pull an ATM from a Madison gas station. The store manager said it’s a new tactic in a wave of robberies targeting local businesses.
The latest attempt to steal the cash-dispensing machine was Friday morning at the BP gas station on Mohawk Drive.
Surveillance video from multiple cameras shows a U-Haul van make a loop around the pumps, as the criminals inside likely made sure the coast was clear.
Moments later, the van parks in front of the store and a man jumps out. He rushes up to the front doors with what looks like a crowbar in his hand that’s attached to a chain. The end of the chain leads to the back of the van.
In the video obtained by 27 News, you can see him smash the glass door numerous times before he sticks his arm in a hole and opens the door.
“It’s scary,” said Tarek Amer, the store’s manager.
Seconds later, the suspect can be seen wrapping the chain around the ATM inside. He then signals to his accomplice to step on the gas as they try to use the force to pull the ATM out of the store.
However, they failed.
“It’s bolted down,” said Amer. “It’s not going anywhere.”
They realize the alarm has been sounding for some time and the ATM wasn’t budging. So, the suspects bolted in the van. Madison Police arrived minutes later to search the store.
“That type of crime — to have the ATM pulled out from the location. It’s new to Madison,” Amer added.
However, about two weeks prior, another Madison gas station was targeted by thieves in the same way. Officers said a tow strap was connected to a van with the other end wrapped around an ATM inside the Phillips 66 Gas Station on Atlas Avenue. The crooks in that case were unsuccessful, too.
Madison detectives believe the two could be similar. Amer hopes for action in this latest attack on one of his 16 gas stations.
“To be honest with you, the last 20 to 30 days, the owner of this chain and I, we didn’t sleep. Every other day there’s a robbery here or at our locations in the east side, south, north, or west,” Amer said. “I mean it’s like something is going on. It’s unbelievable, it’s scary.”
The suspects ripped off one of the store’s doors, damaging the walls of his business and shattering the glass on both doors.
Amer said he estimates it to cost $10,000 to fix the destruction. However, his sense of security is gone.
“We are worried about our employees more than anything right now,” Amer said. “Because we don’t see any action.”
Detectives are studying the surveillance images and are likely trying to track down the U-Haul van to gain information into who rented the vehicle.
Amer just hopes authorities can begin to get a handle on the problem.
“Nothing’s changing,” Amer said.
More at WKOW 27 News