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Security guard foils ATM robbery attempt at northwest Houston hospital

HOUSTON – Employees at a northwest Houston hospital were left to clean up a mess Tuesday after a group tried to steal an ATM.

Police said seven masked men broke into the cafeteria area of Methodist Hospital at Willowbrook at about 3 a.m. The men shattered a glass door, picked up the machine and started to carry it out, but their plan was foiled by an overnight security guard, police said.

"As they were doing that, apparently a security officer was making his rounds in a vehicle. They saw the vehicle, dropped the ATM, got in two vehicles and fled," Lt. Larry Crowson with Houston police said.

Investigators are reviewing surveillance for clues.

"It doesn't surprise me that criminals would hit the hospital. They would hit a children's hospital if they had to," said nearby resident Ray Hughes. "They just don't care. If you're a criminal, you want the money. You're desperate, so you'll do anything."

Police are also investigating five hotel robberies that took place last month, where groups of masked men carried out ATMs.

Police believe they caught the ringleader in the hotel thefts. 

They are investigating if Tuesday's attempt could be related, but said it is too early to tell.

Police said they do not have a good description of the group of men or the getaway cars in Tuesday's attempted theft.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.