HOUSTON – Houston police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a group of five to eight men who are behind a rash of ATM robberies.
From Dec. 9-14, this group has stolen five ATMs from hotels in different parts of the city.
Police said around 1:15 a.m. Thursday, four men wearing masks ran into the lobby of the hotel at 18700 John F. Kennedy Blvd., near Bush Airport, and snatched the ATM.
A valet employee told police he saw a machete in the waistband of one of the men after he yelled at them.
The men put the machine in a blue and white or blue and silver Dodge Magnum and drove away in that and a Nissan that fits the description of one that was taken in a carjacking Wednesday night, police said.
“They’re going straight in the front door and then right out the front door,” said Lt. Cathy Richards with the robbery division’s violent offenders unit.
Each robbery takes two to three minutes because these bandits don’t bother with trying to crack into the machines on site, she said.
Surveillance photos show the crew picks up the entire machine and carries it off. None of the machines has been found.
The robbers are also only picking ATMs that are not bolted to the floor or wall, which indicates the group conducts surveillance before a robbery, Richards said.
Police said in each case, the men hit between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., conceal their faces and wear gloves.
With these men still on the loose, Richards cautions hotel employees to be alert.
“Just be a really good witness. Just cooperate, don’t do anything that would cause you to get hurt,” said Richards.
Richards said officers are still gathering surveillance video from the different hotels to hopefully get a better description of the getaway cars.
Richards said all of the machines were owned by different companies and none was equipped with GPS tracking devices.
If you know anything about these crimes, call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.