Four stores ram-raided for ATM cash
The crime wave against retailers continues as four convenience stores suffered carnage at the hands of ram-raiders seeking cash from their ATM machine
7 January 2009
Ram-raiders made off with in-store ATMs in four filling station robberies in County Carlow before Christmas. The thieves used stolen jeeps to crash into the stores and dislodge their ATMs from the ground, a store-owner told ShelfLife.
At the time of going to press, McCullagh’s service station at Bagenalstown was the latest Carlow store targeted. Thieves made a getaway in a second vehicle, carrying the store’s Bank of Ireland ATM, which shop-owner James Bolger described as holding a “substantial” amount of cash.
Bolger spoke to ShelfLife about the catalogue of destruction caused by the thieves. The front shutter, automatic electric door and ram-barriers were all destroyed, as were four full aisles of shelving. Fridges and presentation stands were also ruined, on top of thousands of euro worth of stock, and the store’s main Eircom cable cut.
Fortunately, with help from locals, Bolger was able to make his shop secure the following night.
However he said: “On a personal basis there is a lot of shock and trauma and it knocks your confidence.
“I arrived five minutes after it happened and the vehicle was still running. It is a complete intrusion on your business, but thank God no-one was injured.”
Another shop-owner of one of the targeted stores, who asked not to be named, described the theft as “very traumatic” and says he is considering not re-installing an ATM.
He says that while “Gardaí were extremely helpful”, he believes that, “the sentencing doesn’t fit the crime; there’s no deterrent. In that particular area, we need stricter sentences.”
A spokesperson for Bank of Ireland said the bank works in partnership with retailers before any machine is installed and ensures all retailers are fully trained in all of the day-to-day security aspects, operation and management of the machines.
“The machines are purpose built to ensure the highest security standards and equate to devices used across the world. As retailer ATMs are ‘self-fill’ machines where the cash is replenished by the retailer on a daily basis, retailers are specifically advised not to leave cash in the device overnight which should be removed and stored in a safe.
“We also recommend that the doors are left open at this time to clearly indicate that no cash is stored inside. Other recommendations include the installation of CCTV, alarms and advising local Garda Crime Prevention Officers in advance of any installation.”
James Bolger pointed out however that retailers “still have to put the money in the machine the next morning and are very exposed to theft at that stage also.” He himself is “now in prevention mode” and plans to install “far superior” ram barriers which can withstand anything up to seven tonnes.
He advises other retailers that as well as having ram barriers at their door, full length windows to the ground should be protected by barriers also. He also suggests retailers ensure they have correct insurance on their ATM cash.
“What I would say to other retailers is, you have a chance to do these things now. Spending €4,000 or €5,000 is preferable to a crime like this. Don’t wait for it to happen; the carnage is just not worth it.”
Gardai in Carlow have said the burglaries are being dealt with in an “ongoing investigation.”