Last week thieves used a telehandler to rip an ATM machine from the pavement at a credit union in Odessa, TX and then lift it into a waiting getaway truck. The crime took place at 1:30 in the morning and was captured on surveillance tape (see video below). Local officials believe the telehandler was stolen—possibly from a nearby construction site, since it would have been difficult to drive any distance in one of these machines without being noticed. The FBI has been brought in to investigate.

Crimes of this type are far more common than one would imagine, common enough to have a name—smash-and-dash. It usually goes down like this: thieves steal an all-terrain forklift, drive to a bank in the middle of the night, spear through the front of the ATM machine with the forks, and then tear it from the pavement and drop it into the back of a pickup. It’s harder to know what happens next because the thieves don’t usually think to post video, but it’s probably safe to assume they drive to a hideout and cut the machine open to get at the cash. That most ATMs and many pieces of construction equipment are equipped with GPS tracking units does not appear to deter these criminals.


The crime took place at the My Complex Community Federal Credit Union in Odessa, Texas. The ATM was taken from the drive-thru to the left of the building.