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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted at 11:26 a.m., Monday, August 20, 2001

Garbage truck used in foiled ATM heist

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

Using a stolen garbage truck they modified to scoop up a cash machine, thieves smashed through the front of a Wai'anae video rental store today but ran away without the money when police arrived.

The break-in occurred about 3:30 a.m. at the Wai'anae Mall Blockbuster store and left a trail of scattered videos, toys and broken glass.

The thieves targeted the in-store First Hawaiian Bank automated teller machine, which was bolted to the floor, police said.

The thieves came prepared with a modified Horizon garbage truck that was stolen on Friday.

They apparently spent the weekend modifying the truck, cutting the lifting forks that are used to pick up Dumpsters and replacing them with a chained, scooping device made to hoist and carry the ATM, police said.

Once inside the video store, a surveillance camera showed the truck ramming the ATM seven times and dislodging it from the floor, police said. The thieves tried to hoist the ATM onto the truck, but police arrived quickly and the thieves sped off.

They ditched the truck behind the shopping mall and ran away. Police said they were looking for at least two men.

Police said the store's alarm system was set off when the truck smashed through the wall. Crews were working to repair the damage today.

"We're hopeful to be open later on today," said Paul Thorpe, Blockbuster regional director of operations. "We're working on it right now."

While the thefts of ATM machines are nothing new, police said this was the first time they had seen thieves use such an elaborate plan.