Two ATMs Carried Off, Two Weeks. More Than a Coincidence?

Categories: Crime
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I'll take the ATM to go, please...
You'd think there'd be easier ways of robbing an ATM than carting the whole thing off -- it's a bit like stealing the tree to get the apples. But that has been the method of choice in consecutive weeks at San Francisco gas stations.

In mid-month, unknown miscreants made off with the ATM at the Twin Peaks gas station at Portola and O'Shaughnessy -- yes, right next to Juvenile Hall -- and dumped it, empty, across town. And now a pair of Hispanic men aged 25 to 30 are suspected of using a vehicle and a chain to pop open the Union 76 ATM at 19th and Taraval over the weekend like Popeye used to pop spinach cans.

The two robberies aren't believed to be linked, said police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza -- but that possibility hasn't been ruled out either. It warrants mentioning that the M.O. was different in the two ATM thefts.

"This is unusual -- but it has happened before," says Esparza. He recalls a case several years back where some modern-day Moriartys ripped off a gas station ATM, oblivious to electronic tracking devices stored within. They took the machine to their home, where they were later arrested.

No such luck this time. The robbers -- all two, four, or however many there are -- are still at large.

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