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Police: ATM Thief May Be A 'Professional'

December 21, 2009, 5:01 PM by Brian Kushida

Police: ATM Thief May Be A 'Professional'
An ATM filled with cash is missing from a credit union in Tea.  And authorities there are trying to find out who stole the machine and the cash inside.

Tea police say the front set of doors at Service First Federal Credit Union in Tea are typically unlocked during the night -- that way people can still have access to the ATM after-hours.

But as the clock rolled past midnight and into the morning Monday, a thief made off with the credit union's ATM, loaded up with as much as $30,000. It happened all in a matter of minutes, or even seconds.

It's kind of peculiar to say the least," Tea Officer Curtis Rabenberg said.

Police say it's possible that whoever stole the ATM could be a professional.

Aside from a brief moment in front of the lens, the thief managed to avoid being filmed on surveillance camera. Rabenberg says the suspect may have been in there before, and knew where the cameras were positioned. So police will take a look at old credit union video to find any clues.

"We're going to look back in the past as well, to see if there's any suspicious people around there. Because that's a possibility too, that you had a person that was looking at the particulars of the business, before they actually took the machine," Rabenberg said.

The thief severed the ATM's connection to the wall, triggering an alarm to authorities. But police say the suspect was able to deactivate the alarm shortly after it went off.

"That would be something that would require knowledge, to be able to go in there, and know what to disconnect," Rabenberg said.

Authorities arrived on scene in just 30 seconds, but the thief had somehow hauled the ATM away in that time.

They're still investigating how the suspect got away, and if he got help in swiping the ATM.

Police say it's too early to tell if the theft is linked to any credit union employees or those who work in the ATM business.

They'll be working with both local and national authorities to see if there's any connection with past ATM thefts.

A spokesperson for Service First Federal Credit Union declined to comment about the theft

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