Saturday 01 April 2023

Nine arrested for blowing up 50 cash machines in Germany

A file photo of a wrecked cash dispenser in Germany. Photo:

Nine people have been arrested in the Netherlands for taking part in more than 50 attempts to blow up ATMs in Germany, police said on Thursday.

The nine, aged 25 to 41, come from Roermond, Echt, Utrecht, Amersfoort and Soesterberg, and were picked up in raids on 15 locations nationwide. Police also found explosives at a car dealers on an industrial estate in Roermond, as well as a quantity of cash.

Together with three others who are on the run, the nine are suspected of stealing €5.2 million in a series of attacks on ATMs, mainly in the German states of Bayern and Baden-Württemberg, according to German police.

‘The gang was highly organised, with a clear division of roles ranging from preparing explosives to dealing with logistics, driving or blowing up the ATMs at the locations,’ European crime fighting agency Eurojust said.

More attacks

Dutch gangs are thought to be behind almost 450 attacks on cash machines in Germany last year, but just 15 were blown up in the Netherlands because of preventative measures, Dutch police say.

Raids on ATMs in the Netherlands have prompted banks to move cash dispensers to areas where fewer people live and remove some altogether because of the danger explosions cause to locals.

Some 879 ATMs were removed in 2021, leaving around 4,900 places to withdraw cash money in the Netherlands, according to central bank figures.  Opening hours have also been restricted, with most ATMs shutting down between 11pm and 6am to discourage robberies.

The police say they suspect about 500 men, mainly living in the Amsterdam and Utrecht regions, are responsible for the lion’s share of the explosive attacks at home and abroad.

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