Three crooks drive truck into store wall, steal ATM

This was fifth smash and grab in north Houston in the last week

By Gianna Caserta - Reporter

HOUSTON - Three men wearing ski masks drive through the wall of a north Houston convenience store and took off with the store's ATM, according to police.

It was the fifth smash and grab in north Houston in the last week.

"It is getting kind of out of control," says Helmuth Koch, neighbor.

Koch walks to the Valero by his house every morning for coffee, but when he got there this morning, he couldn't believe what he saw.

"Total devastation. There was case of beer and ice cream and everything everywhere," said Koch.

Around 5:30 a.m. Sunday, Houston police said three men wearing ski masks and dressed in black smashed through the wall of a convenience store on Airline. They used a stolen Empire Roofing pickup truck to reverse into the side of the building near the ATM.

The clerk was inside and hid behind the counter.

"It scared the young lady that works there every night real bad. She was in pretty bad shape," said Koch.

Thankfully, officials said she wasn't hurt. Police said the men jumped out of the truck and started smashing the ATM with hammers trying to break it open, but they were unsuccessful. The thieves jumped into a second car and took off.

Kock said this is happening too often in the area. A couple of years ago, he said his truck was stolen and used for a smash and grab in Conroe.

"They had taken it out to outlane community and used it in a crash burglary trying to get an ATM machine," said Koch.

Luckily, that thief was caught and Kock hopes these crooks are also brought to justice.

Police are trying to access their surveillance footage to try to see if anything stands out, so they can capture those thieves.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.