[VIDEO] Explosives Used to Break into Machine during ATM Robbery, Thieves Caught on HD Camera

On August 11, 2017, two criminals drove their SUV up to a Gas Station ATM Kiosk with a plan. They planned to execute an ATM robbery by blowing up the ATM with some sort of liquid explosive. It is clear from this video, it’s not the first time they are attempting this. They are wanted by the FBI. The authorities were very excited to see the quality of our security footage.

Authorities_On_Scene

Authorities at the Crime Scene of the ATM Robbery in San Diego, CA

When you start using explosives on an ATM, you attract a lot of attention. You get the local police, sheriffs, SWAT, the Bomb Squad, ATF, and the FBI involved. That’s a lot of manpower hunting you down.

These guys are wanted by the FBI. It’s not just a local crime.  Is a few grand worth having to hide and run for the rest of your life? I don’t think so.

The suspects think they got away with it. However, as time will tell, and with the help of this HD video, and the enhancement tools Federal Law Enforcement agencies have available, they will most likely do time behind bars for this ATM robbery.  Maybe they will save all the money they stole to pay for their lawyer. They will need it.

I’ve been in the ATM business since 1994. Since then, I’ve helped hundreds of Independent ATM Deployers (IAD’s) start, run, and maintain successful ATM businesses. I’ve personally sold or installed hundreds and hundreds of ATM machines. I currently manage thousands of machines and hundreds of thousands of ATM transactions nationwide and I’ve never, ever seen anything like this.

This location has been a customer of ours for over a decade. We’ve never had any issue until we installed a new kiosk.  While this small kiosk does not appear to be bomb proof, the old kiosk building we used previously onsite was. Unfortunately for us the gas station – car wash is undergoing a remodel and needed to demolish the building, so we had to move the ATM to the other side of the parking lot.

In order not to inhibit the authority’s investigation, we won’t go into the details of what the authorities knew in this article.

However, now that we know all the details we can help others.

So, if you plan to install a kiosk and you are one of our customers (or want to be), please contact our office for some additional help.

We learned an expensive lesson, so we hope to use it to educate our customers.

ATM Depot can certainly help you avoid the same fate. We thought we prepared for every security scenario but they proved us wrong on this one. The key is that we learned an awful lot from this and can now assist our customers even better when dealing with outdoor ATMs.

**** UPDATE ****

September 28, 2017

After many calls between the account manager, Jeremy, and the FBI and ATF, on this situation, we learned that the authorities were able to issue a subpoena at the home of Scott Michael Petri. We are not sure how all this went down but we speculate that the FBI was able to leverage the information obtained in the video of the ATM robbery. According to law enforcement, one of the suspects bragged to a confidential informant about the crime. Upon serving a subpoena at the suspects home, the Law enforcement authorities say they found a drill, a gas cylinder, clothing and other incriminating evidence in his home that matched the items in the surveillance video during the crime.

Court documents allege (and video shows) Petri used a cordless drill to make two holes in the ATM machine’s housing. A second unidentified suspect (now in custody) approached the ATM with an open flame (see video, looks like a cigarette) and lit a fuse.  The suspects drove to the other side of the gas station and the ATM exploded. See the entire ATM robbery (edited for time) in the video above.

Suspect_Searching

The suspect (circled) is searching for the cash box after the ATM robbery explosion

The August robbery was the second time this year an explosive device was used on an ATM in San Diego, according to the FBI.

**** UPDATE ****

October 5, 2017

Scott Michael Petri faces a charge of using an explosive to damage property relating to a robbery at the Chevron Station and Pit Stop Car Wash on Miramar Road just south of the 15 Freeway entrance. The suspect was picked up and booked on October 5th and transferred into Federal custody and is being held in the Federal Prison in Downtown San Diego by the ATF. Bail has been set at $250,000.

ATM_Suspect_Arrested

Public arrest records for Scott Michael Petri. One of the suspects in the ATM robbery.

How Can an ATM Machine Attract Business?

We have all been in the situation where we have run out of money and need to fill our wallets or purse with cash. Credit and debit cards are almost accepted everywhere but nothing is better than having physical cash. Install an ATM machine to attract business and you can help provide people with easy access to cash.

Did you know that there are a variety of ways to attract business and make more money when you install an ATM machine into your business? Businesses owners are unaware of the benefits of owning an ATM machine.

 What are the Benefits of having an ATM?

How Can an ATM Machine Attract Business?

ATM machines are great additions to a business because they can naturally attract customers inside. When a sign is posted outside indicating that an establishment has an ATM machine you draw in more people to visit your store.

People will casually walk in just to get some cash and often will make a small purchase. This can help increase business since a lot of people will visit in a given day just to withdraw some cash.

Psychologically, immediately after someone withdraws funds and has cash in their pocket, they are more likely to spend it right away. Spontaneous shopping happens more often after a person adds more money to their wallet.

It is very common that once people get out cash using your ATM they feel the urge to spend some of the money they just withdrew, this often leads to impulse buying which would be spent in your store..

One cleaver trick that works well is to place the ATM machine in an area of the store where you often display specials or bargains you’re promoting, this encourages spontaneous shopping.  Small businesses find that after an ATM machine is installed they make hundreds of dollars in profits every week as a result.

Large businesses and certain types of businesses notice profits often increase dramatically from having an ATM machine available. Most of the time when people withdraw cash they like to break it down into smaller bills. When receiving a few twenties that an ATM typically dispenses customers like to have smaller increments and are likely to make a purchase to facilitate making change.  Customer that withdraw money are therefor more likely to buy something from your store if they need to break down a large bill.

Convenience stores, small markets, and similar businesses can profit considerably from many small transactions a day. A customer is more likely to purchase additional items when they need to break down larger bills so the potential to earn increases.

As the owner or operator of an ATM you also profit from the commission you receive on every ATM transaction that takes place on your machine. So even if people do not spend any money inside your business you are still generating a profit from the small space an ATM uses.

Customers opt for an ATM machine as opposed to using credit cards more often to avoid credit card charges and interest payments. Between 40% – 70% of credit card charges performed are done with a bank debit card and merchants are paying a high percentage to accept this type of payment. Offsetting Credit Card Fees alone is another way to convert fees paid into money made.

An ATM machine is a profitable investment for a business in many ways. If a community or shopping area lacks ATM machines and you install one, other businesses will send people into your store when their customers ask where the closest ATM machine is. You’ll be the business that has the solution to everyone’s need for cash.

Consider installing an ATM machine to help your business attract more customers and produce more profits daily, weekly, and monthly. You’ll be surprised at the amount of additional income once you add a new machine to your business, just remember to make people aware of its presence.

How to Increase Security for an ATM

Increase Security for an ATM

How Can You Increase Security for an ATM and Safeguard Against Theft?

We all know ATM’s are like candy to would be thieves, but that doesn’t mean your ATM has to be a target. People target these machines because they are small and they think they store a lot of money.

In reality most merchant owned free standing ATM’s (the ones in stores) don’t contain much cash and many store owners remove the cash each evening like a cash register.

As a store owner or ATM operator, there are certain precautions you can take to limit the chance that an ATM is stolen or broken into and increase security for an ATM.

It’s easy to ad a camera  monitor for your ATM machine to ensure that it puts a person at risk if they try and steal money from it. The more measures you take to secure your machine the less likely someone will attempt to steal money out of it.

  • Install surveillance cameras around your ATM. No one wants to be spotted on camera. Put one directly on top of the machine and another in a location that has a good view of the ATM. These camera systems are inexpensive and work great.
  • Hang a sign up in the area to let people know that it is under constant surveillance. Thieves will think twice before making an attempt to steal from the ATM when cameras are around. Several higher end machines come with cameras installed inside to help lower the chance of theft.  The some of the new Genmega series ATMs have surveillance deterrents pre-installed at the factory.
  • Put your ATM near a brightly lit area. The more lit the area where the ATM is located, the less chance someone is going to try and break into it. Make sure that the area directly above the machine and surrounding area has the proper lighting. This will also help customers feel more at ease when completing a transaction. No one wants to withdraw cash from an ATM in an area that is dark. Added security to a machine can help protect the money inside and help draw in customers.
  • Place the machine inside of your store. Properly secure windows and doors to prevent people from trying to break in and remove cash each evening like a cash register.
  • Install an alarm in your store so if someone tries to get inside they will trigger it. Your machine should be more secure if it is inside your business. An alarm usually makes criminals move to the next target where they don’t have alarms. Alarms are inexpensive these days and go a long way to make would be criminals think twice about breaking into your business to steal your ATM or any other valuables inside for that matter.

Protecting your investment is just good business. You do not need someone stealing from your ATM. Make sure your installer properly secures your machine to the floor or wall. Make sure the area surrounding your establishment is well-lit, and if you own and operate your ATM machines, simply remove the cash when you close and leave the safe door open is the best security measure. If the ATM in your store is operated by someone else, most of the suggestions above deter criminal activity. A few small protective measures is all it takes to increase security for an ATM and protect your valuables.

ATM Scams: How to Avoid Getting Skimmed

Criminals can abscond with ATM customers’ money without even confronting their victims.

How to Avoid ATM Skimming Scam

How? Cash machines are targeted by crooks who attach phony electronic devices – sometimes very well crafted and difficult to detect – over the ATM’s card reader and then rig a hidden camera close by, on the machine itself or on a nearby light fixture, according to an FBI reports on ATM skimmers.

An unsuspecting ATM customer inserts his bank card into the fake card reader, which then “skims” the account information from the card’s magnetic strip and stores the stolen data or sends it wirelessly to the thieves. Meanwhile, the hidden camera “shoulder surfs,” recording the customer’s hand movements as he inputs his PIN; similarly, a false keypad may be used to record the customer’s keystrokes. With the bank card information and the PIN, the criminal may encode a new, blank card to gain easy access to a victim’s account at any number of ATMs.

Defend Yourself

So, what’s a consumer to do to avoid being skimmed? The FBI recommends inspecting any ATM – whether it’s at a bank, a gas pump or elsewhere – and looking for anything suspicious like scratches or residue from adhesive or tape. Always cover the keypad with one hand when typing in a PIN, and try to use an indoor ATM when possible; it’s tougher for crooks to set up skimmers in well-trafficked areas. Keep an eye on bank statements, sign up for alerts that let you know of unusual account activity and consider an identity-theft protection and monitoring service like LifeLock. PCWorld suggests watching out for anyone milling about near an ATM and being wary of using an ATM that’s in a remote area or doesn’t appear to be part of a nearby business or bank.

Thieves Pay the Price

While losses related to skimming have been on the rise the past several years, the good news is that skimmers are being caught and serving time for their crimes. Some recent cases in the news include:

  • A 29-year-old Georgia man was sentenced in November 2012 to 38 months in federal prison for several skimming-related charges. He was ordered to pay more than $72,000 in restitution.
  • Also in November 2012, a 22-year-old Romanian from Broward, Fla., received a 3.5-year sentence in federal prison. He was found guilty of charges related to aggravated identity theft and possession of an ATM-skimming device and two “pinhole cameras” with video recorders, the Sun Sentinel.reports.
  • A 32-year-old Romanian man was recorded on camera placing a skimmer device on an ATM in England, and was subsequently apprehended when he returned to dismantle it. Techworld.com reported that the man, who is believed to have skimmed more than 9,000 PINs, is facing a jail sentence.

The takeaway is that vigilance is key to beating the skimmers. Watch your surroundings, be on the lookout for anything unusual and stay on top of your finances.

ATM Machines, A Buyer’s Guide (part 3)

A Buyer’s Guide (Part 3)

ATM Machine Buyers Guide image of Cash

If you’ve read part 2 of the [intlink id=”2013″ type=”post”]ATM Machines, A Buyers Guide[/intlink], you’re ready for part 3. Now you know if you want an automatic teller machine at your place of business or if you want to own and operate ATM machines as a business.

Let’s say you own a local brick and mortar business, but you don’t want to purchase the machine outright, you basically have three alternatives: leasing the ATM or arranging payments over time, opting for a free ATM placement program, or partnering in an ATM co-op program.

First, Leasing: Hardly anyone leases an ATM anymore. Most sales reps that try to lease ATM’s are looking for big commissions. It’s difficult to get a lease on a $2500 piece of equipment so they have to jack the price way up to get a leasing company to even consider it and then you’re paying them big commissions. It’s actually easier, cheaper and better to pay for the ATM with a credit card or to ask your bank for an equipment loan to include other equipment you may need in your business and to include the price of the ATM in the loan

First, if you really want to lease an ATM, (I’d like to talk you out of it) but you may need to search the Internet (or the yellow pages) for leasing companies located reasonably close to your business or get a recommendation from the vendor. Try sampling a few such companies to find the most favorable leasing terms – each company’s agreement will be different to some extent, but most leases go 5 years. First, and most importantly, you want to figure out who’s offering the lowest cost for a lease. Also, who determines how much your customers will have to pay in ATM fees to make your lease payment each month so you don’t have negative cash flow. Leasing companies will rarely over fund the equipment lease to give you extra cash to fill the ATM. Some business owners think this is a great idea, but the cost of that extra cash is very high and not worthwhile.

You should also compare the economics of leasing versus buying to be absolutely sure that you’d prefer to lease. Specifically, you should weigh the following factors:

  • If you’re planning on leasing a machine for a long time it would save you a lot of money in the long run just to purchase one.
  • If you can take out a loan at your bank verses leasing, that is the next best option instead.
    • Note that some vendors offer short term funding options such as 60 or 90 days. Since most ATM’s these days are typically under $2400 most business owners pay cash or use a credit card, however, we have seen deals where a merchant is able to put 50% down on a credit card and float the balance for 30 days.
  • Would buying an ATM allow you a substantial tax deduction – or could you get more tax deduction mileage out of deducting the annual costs of leasing an ATM?
  • Does it seem as though you’d stand to make a lot of money from ATM surcharge fees? If so, then owning an ATM might be the more lucrative proposition.

Second, Free Placement Programs: The next option for you as a business owner may be to consider entering into a free ATM placement program. If you’ve never heard of this option, you should know that free ATM programs have been around for a long time. What you have to do is find either a local or national ATM vendor that runs such a program and fill out an application.

Free placement programs typically require  that your business needs to be attracting a certain number of customers each day in order for you to earn acceptance. If you’re accepted, the vendor will ship an ATM to your business, install it, maintain it and service it as needed. Some free programs even take care of restocking the cash in the cash dispenser for you. In addition, you may qualify to receive some portion of the surcharges that the ATM collects, which the vendor will send you either through direct deposit or in the form of a check.

All in all, a free program is, no doubt, the easiest way for business owners to obtain an ATM. However, the profit potential from such a system, obviously, is much lower. Note, too, that companies offering free placement ATM’s will require a substantial amount of information about you and your business (they will even be delving into your bank account figures) before they approve you for such a program. While the free placement program sounds great, it takes the longest to get approved and returns the least amount of profit.  The pros are that you don’t have to deal with the ATM machine at all.  It may be easier to get approved from a small local company verses a large national company if you can find such a local entrepreneur willing to take on your business as part of their ATM portfolio.

Third, Co-Op Program: The last option to consider and a bit newer, is to enter into an ATM co-operative program. Under such an arrangement, you’d buy half the ATM and load the cash. That is, you’d be co-owner of the machine, paying for half of the upfront cost and half of all the operating and repair costs.

An ATM vendor, the other co-owner, would pay the other half of those costs. In a way, this kind of program splits the difference between owning an ATM yourself and getting a free placement or owning the ATM outright.  That is, you get a much larger share of the profits verse a free placement program would allow, but you also have more maintenance responsibilities. And, you’d get a lot less than if you owned the ATM outright yourself.

While co-op agreements, like leasing agreements, can vary widely, if you’re in such a program you’ll probably have to replace the receipt paper, load the cash as necessary and provide first line maintenance (FLM). FLM includes clearing a paper receipt jam or a cash jam. The co-op deal is more suited to a hands on business owner or manager who doesn’t necessarily have enough cash to purchase the machine outright. By the way, it’s your own cash that will go into the machine. And you’ll have to decide if you want o install any security features – a new camera or an alarm, for example or if you’ll just remove the cash from the ATM each evening like a cash register.

An extra benefit of the co-op program, however, is that the ATM vendor can figure out where to place the machine within your business, and can also provide you with helpful advice when you’re still a novice at ATM operations. That way, you can really maximize the profits you’ll get from your ATM. In some instances you can agree to a buyout over time if the vendor is in agreement.

Once you decide if you want to own the ATM or have someone else do it, it’s time to decide who is going to load the cash.  We’ll talk about that in the next ATM Machines, A Buyer’s Guide in the near future.  Have questions, [intlink id=”509″ type=”page”]contact us[/intlink].