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[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.

Setting Up an ATM Business

Network Transaction Fees + Customer Service

Setting Up an ATM BusinessWith the rising cost of bank fees for various services, bank customers welcome any opportunity they can find to save a few dollars. Whether those savings are with their monthly service fees or through ATM transaction fees, any cost savings they can readily see and reap do add up quickly.

It’s no secret to customers that they think their ATM fees are outrageous, and it seems to them that the fees increase almost every time they make an ATM withdrawal. While that may seem a bit of an exaggeration, what is real is the cost of doing business and how that cost is sometimes passed on to the customer.

Frequent ATM Users

Customers who frequently travel for business or leisure may find that they’re always on the lookout for an ATM machine, especially if they’re not in the habit of carrying large amounts of cash on them at once. These individuals want and need to find ATM machines that they have easy access to, can withdraw the amount of money they need, and those machines that don’t have such exorbitant fees charged to customers. After all, it is their money, and while they don’t mind paying for the ATM convenience, they just want the amount charged to at least be reasonable.

ATM owners also know that these customers need their services from time to time. Some may need it more often than others, but ATM owners also know that there may be another ATM machine further down the road where the customer can take their business if they don’t like the service that’s offered. This can be anything from broken machines, to insufficient cash in the machines or machines that don’t give them their bank balances after the transaction.

The ATM business is a very lucrative and competitive type of business overall. Owners and operators of the lucrative ATM business can often expect almost 100% of their ROI within months or an average annual return of 50% or more when the ATM business is properly Run. The investment far outweighs just keeping your cash in a money market account.  To the owners, that’s the best part of being in this type of business. But, to the customers, those fees and surcharges are very much their frustrations.

Flexibility and Convenience

ATM owners provide a convenient and flexible service to users who need to access the money in their bank accounts, but may not be at or near the bank where their accounts are held. So, instead of that customer searching and looking for “their” bank, the ATM machine provides instant service that saves them time and frustration.

Convenience does come with a cost.

Individuals often have to pay usage fees or transaction fees to withdraw money from their accounts, if they’re not making the transaction at their branded ATM machine. So that means if John Doe wants to withdraw $100 from ABC Bank, but he banks with XYZ bank, he may have to pay a surcharge anywhere from ~ $1.00 to $3.00 for the convenient service.

For the ATM owner, it’s a win-win situation, and they can also make it easier for the customer too.

Keep It Profitable

keep it profitableATM owners determine their own surcharge “convenience” fees when they setup the machines, therefore they can set the limit accordingly, based on their desired profits, cost of doing business, location of the ATM, traffic, visibility, etc. Here are some things to implement with the ATM business that can keep it profitable for the owner and hassle-free for the customers:

  • Clearly display on the machine what the withdrawal fees are per transaction (this is a network regulation and all ATM Owners must display this). If your ATM is missing the fee notice contact your ATM provider, if they don’t offer this decal, shop for another ATM provider. Not only does this decal cut down on misunderstandings or disputes and possible charge-backs, it keeps your ATM and your ATM business compliant.
  • Maintain the ATM machines in proper working order. If the machines are inoperable, that ATM business traffic will go elsewhere and the place of business will find another ATM Provider.
  • Keep the ATM machine visible and in the open. Sometimes, people are leery about transacting with an ATM machine that is “away” from heavy foot traffic or is in a secluded or hidden spot. Think safety. Don’t put the ATM in a dark hallway or other “inconspicuous area”.
  • Ensure that the ATM machine is always stocked with cash. Running out of funds is frustrating, both for customers and the owner. Make a habit to check and stock the machines frequently. Your ATM provider should offer online access so you can check your ATM machines in real time for cash balances to ensure they have enough funds.
  • While compliance requires the ATM have the processors phone number prominently displayed, be sure to place your contact information in a visible area on the ATM machine, just in case your customers need to contact you with problems. There shouldn’t really be any problems with ATM machines because they require very little support, but customers often feel more secure knowing that there is a way to contact someone in case there is a problem.

Just a few simple things in the beginning of setting up an ATM business can help it run smoothly and efficiently at all times. Customers always have other options, and they will use those options if they don’t have a choice. By setting up the business to be as self-automated as possible and with minimal maintenance, makes both customers and ATM owners satisfied all around.

If you need helping setting up your ATM business to be successful, be sure to contact us.

Things to Do Before Starting an ATM Business

Three Major Things to Do Before Starting an ATM BusinessWithout a doubt, the ATM business is a very easy and quite lucrative one to get into. Everyone from the small business owner to the large corporation understands the immense benefits that abound in owning and managing an ATM business. ATM business owners can position their machines at most any well-trafficked location and see a return on their investment in a short matter of time. The key to success is choosing the right company to go with in setting up an ATM business, and knowing how to properly organize and manage it for optimal, profitable results.

The ATM business is one that can easily be a long-term, high-profit business that grows each year, but it’s important to ensure that the business is properly set up from the beginning. Everything from ATM software, security, location and management needs to be considered seriously before any real profits are seen. This is also important so as to keep those profits coming in while keeping business expenses as low as possible.

Here are a few tips to review and make sure are they’re on your checklist as you start the ATM ownership process:

1. Determine Ideal Setup

How do you want to manage the ATM business? Several options include owning and managing the machine, or, owning it and having someone else manage it by loading it with cash as necessary. Perhaps there will be another owner, and you simply manage the machine. Either of the options depends solely on your personal preferences and what works best for your end goals. Be aware however that you will need to ensure that the proper legal paperwork is in place to protect liabilities, especially since this area of business involves handling large amounts of cash.

2. ATM Machines, New or Used?

This is another consideration that’s best determined by your budget or preferences with the style and functionality of the ATM machine. Buying a used machine vs. a new one will definitely save you a significant amount of money on cost, but it’s also important to be sure that the used version will have all of the features and capabilities that it needs in order to draw in favorable traffic. Also, newer, more current models are going to have current software and run more efficiently, but if you’re considering planting multiple ATM machines in different locales, your best option may be to invest in used models until you break even with your profits.

3. Find ATM Dealers

In addition to thinking of either new or used machines, you also have to consider from whom you purchase your machine. It’s imperative to use only reputable dealers and ATM machine processing facilities with whom to do business. Make sure that the company has a stellar client support system for questions and setup. Also ensure that there are warranties included with your equipment so as to avoid any issues later on. Unless you know of a third party either on a personal level or you’re very familiar with the brand and model of an ATM machine, it is not a good idea to buy your machine from a private party or individuals who list an ATM machine for sale.

Finally, as it is with customer service in any business, ensure that the ATM processing company that you select has a generous support system for their clients. Scope out a processing company that offers 24 hour, 7 days a week support, and also has multiple contact numbers to reach them, preferably toll free numbers. This is important for customers because ATM owners will have all different hours, night and day, where they will be working and managing their machines. They need access to customer support just in case they run into any issues, and at any time of the day or night. Take note of whether or not live callers answer the phone lines, or if there is an automated message. If you get an automated message, test the call by leaving a voice mail message asking for more information. Notice the length of time that it takes to have your call returned, and this is a good indicator of how you’ll be treated once you become a customer.