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Thieves “back weh” ATM machine

GeneralThieves “back weh” ATM machine

Photo: Area in which ATM was located

Three Heritage Bank ATMs targeted within five days.

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Fri. Dec. 1, 2023

Thieves in Belize City made a brazen move to rob the Puma Gas Station situated on the Fabers Road roundabout at Mile 2 ½ in Belize City, but they didn’t just steal money from the enterprise. They also took an entire ATM machine belonging to Heritage Bank, and they successfully did so by using what is believed to be a van to haul the machine out of its place.

Initial reports indicate that sometime between 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 30, and the following morning at 5:30 a.m., thieves snuck into the gas station, and stole several hundred dollars and the ATM, which contained an undisclosed amount of cash.

Further reports mentioned that when police arrived at the scene, they saw a set of tools believed to have been used to carry out the heist. Additionally, the security alarm apparently had not been turned on when the staff departed from the establishment on that night.

Security camera footage inside the gas station captured three men, all wearing hooded tops, trying to hide their identity and tying up the loose ends in securing the ATM as it was attached to a cable and a van outside. A few seconds later in the video, two of the robbers moved from the frame of the camera while one stood watching the ATM being hauled by the van. Then all three men entered the frame as they shoved the ATM into the van before escaping.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Hilberto Romero, Regional Commander of the Belize Police Department Eastern Division, told local reporters that four persons (who are being sought by the department) were a part of this heist, and the van used to orchestrate the move has been recovered by police.

ACP Romero noted that the gas station was unguarded.

It apparently went overlooked by the media that two other ATMS, also belonging to Heritage Bank, were targeted. One attempted theft occurred in San Ignacio Town, Cayo District, on the same night that the Puma Gas Station robbery took place, while another incident took place in Roaring Creek. However, while these two ATMs were not stolen, they are damaged beyond operation, rendering them useless.

ACP Romero declined to comment on the reported attempts on the other ATMs, but, while he declined to comment on the matter, our Amandala archives indicate that there have been previous thefts of ATMs in recent years.

In May of this year, a Heritage Bank ATM was stolen in Burrell Boom. Then in December of last year, robbers made good with a Belize Bank ATM located in San Roman Village, Corozal District, which reportedly had over $100,000 in it.

No charges have been levied in connection with those robberies, but ACP Romero mentioned that they are following leads in an attempt to make an arrest.

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