Serial burglar caught on camera stealing ATM from gas station

Serial burglar caught on camera stealing ATM from gas station

Posted:
In the surveillance video, the ski mask-wearing suspect swings a sledgehammer into the storefront window. (Source: KCSO) In the surveillance video, the ski mask-wearing suspect swings a sledgehammer into the storefront window. (Source: KCSO)
He then reaches through the window and wraps a chain around the ATM. (Source: KCSO) He then reaches through the window and wraps a chain around the ATM. (Source: KCSO)
And finally he drags the ATM out through the window. (Source: KCSO) And finally he drags the ATM out through the window. (Source: KCSO)

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knox County deputies are looking for the suspect or suspects in a series of thefts involving stolen cars and at least one ATM machine.

In the incidents, the suspect steals a vehicle, in some cases using it to commit a theft, then abandons the vehicle and sets fire to it to destroy evidence.

The thefts have taken place in both Knoxville and Knox County and in some cases, the vehicles have been found burned in Sevier County.

Ten vehicles have been stolen and found either that day or the next day burned.

The first reported incident was reported April 23, when a pick-up truck was stolen from a Chapman Highway address and found burned out later on Burnett Creek Road.

Then, on June 7, a Ford van was stolen from Mount Olive Baptist Church.

The suspect, wearing a ski mask, was caught on video driving the van to the Thrifty Center on Chapman Highway.

In surveillance video, the man can be seen backing up to the front of the window, breaking the front window with a sledgehammer and wrapping a chain around the ATM to drag it out the window.

When one employee named Martha walked into work at the Thrifty Center she saw broken glass and large holes in the floor. The ATM machine was gone. The crime was caught on tape.

"It was scary. You know I'm thinking if he's going to go that far you know what else is he willing to do?" said Thrifty Center employee Martha.

The van was found the next day burned out on Rays Gap Road.

Knox County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Martha Dooley says a similar crime has happened 10 times since March. Vehicles, even wreckers, are stolen and used in other thefts, then set on fire.

"We think they target items they want to steal and then they steal the vehicle to carry that out," said Dooley.

The owner of the ATM is offering a $500 reward for anyone with information regarding the theft.

Anyone with information is urged to call the KCSO at 215-2243.

The Tennessee Division of Fire Prevention is also offering a reward through the Arson Hotline at 1-800-762-3017.

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