Cashpoint swindlers steal £9k in 20 thefts across West Midlands using new tactic
Cashpoint users are being warned of a new tactic being used by distraction thieves, after more than £9,000 was stolen in 20 thefts across the West Midlands.
CCTV footage of the offences show how the swindlers approach someone at an ATM, tell them the machine is not working, and then use a piece of paper to cover the screen in order to cancel the transaction and pocket the card.
The thieves – who have also memorised the person’s PIN number by looking over their shoulder – then go on to use the card to withdraw hundreds from the bank account.
At least £9,000 has been stolen from people using this method from cashpoints in Hall Green, Sparkhill, Sheldon, Small Heath, Northfield, Coventry and Handsworth since October last year.
The thieves are thought to be working in a group of three and officers believe they may be travelling from London to carry out their crimes.
Since the first reports, officers have circulated CCTV of the suspects to other forces in a bid to trace them and have been trawling road cameras to find vehicles involved, but are yet to identify the culprits.
The man who approaches people at the cashpoints is described as Asian with a neatly trimmed beard, who always wears a hat.
Detective Constable Christine Hammond, who is investigating the offences, said: “We’re determined to find those responsible for these thefts but in the meantime, we’re keen to spread the word and let people know what’s happening so they can take steps to protect themselves.
“If you’re at a cashpoint and someone approaches you, don’t take their word for it that the machine isn’t working. Simply ignore them and carry on as you are, making sure you keep your pin covered at all times.
“If you do spot any suspicious activity like this, then please call police straight away and – if you see them getting in and out of any vehicles – make a note of any registration numbers.