On the night of December 6th (Sunday) or possibly the AM hours on the 7th under the cover of darkness, a brazen burglary occurred at the Taco Bell / Shell Gas Station Store located at 1551 E. Washington AVE in Vinton VA.
We walked in to the location on Monday the 7th at around 11AM and noticed an ATM machine had ben torn apart using what was confirmed at being a blow torch and other heavy duty tools. The photos show what appear to be clean cut marks on the metal that protects the cash.
We had a chance to speak with the Female Employee/Manager of the Shell Station and they said that the perpetrator was caught on camera and gained access through a wall in the rear of the building on the Taco Bell side and proceeded to use a cutting torch or blow torch to gain access to the money storage compartment of the ATM. Shell has an alarm system that we were told was not triggered because the theft took place on the side that Taco Bell occupies and secures. An employee of Taco Bell stated that this was the second time since they have been working there that someone has broken in to the location.
How Much Money Do ATM Cash Machines Hold:
The average size machine can hold as much as $200,000, though few do. In off hours, most machines contain less than $10,000. Still, news of a number of recent big scores ATM thefts have probably only made the crime more popular. Source: Business.Time.com
The amount of cash in the Vinton VA “Taco-Shell” incident is unclear. An ATM technician told us that many of the local gas station cash machines have an average of $5000-$10000 in them and even less on busy days. ATM companies refill cash machines based off of data that is remotely sent them when the machine runs low.
A security professional we spoke to stated that many ATM thefts are inside jobs or committed by someone very familiar with the location and refill times.