Another ATM burglary
An ATM burglary was pulled off Wednesday in Minto, N.D., that looks a lot like the one tried six days earlier in Grand Forks. "It's pretty cotton-pickin' similar," said Walsh County Sheriff Lauren Wild. But it's too early to assume too much or dr...
An ATM burglary was pulled off Wednesday in Minto, N.D., that looks a lot like the one tried six days earlier in Grand Forks.
"It's pretty cotton-pickin' similar," said Walsh County Sheriff Lauren Wild. But it's too early to assume too much or draw any conclusions, he said.
When Bill Slominski pulled into work at his grain elevator in Minto on Wednesday morning, he noticed right away that the work pickup truck usually parked there was gone.
So, he drove over to the Cenex station since law enforcement obviously was hard at work there.
Bob Thomas, chief deputy for the Walsh County Sheriff's Department was already investigating the theft of the Cenex store's ATM, an automated teller machine.
It was obvious, Slominski said, that the cash machine had been pulled out through the store's front door window. And there, plain as day, were the tracks of studded snow tires leading up to and away from the broken door window. Just like the tracks made by the rear tires on his 1993 white Ford F-150 missing from Minto Grain.
"We put two and two together pretty quickly." Slominski said. "Not many vehicles (with tires) like that anymore." The ATM was stolen, it's estimated, about 4 a.m. Wednesday, said Scott Schuster, who works at the Cenex, which includes a shop, gas station and convenience store. Cenex is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week. It looks like someone broke into the shop, grabbed a tire iron and used it to break the front door window next to the ATM, Schuster said.
"I heard they stole Billy Slominski's truck, an F-150, hooked up a chain to the ATM, and to the truck and dragged it right out through the door," Schuster said. That's pretty much what happened, Sheriff Wild said.
A chain or something like it was wrapped around the ATM, breaking it in half and leaving part of it lying outside the store.
"They got the half with the money in it," Wild said.
The money half of the ATM was found, empty, by deputies in the ditch along a gravel road 3 miles north of Forest River, N.D., Wild said.
He said it's not clear yet how much was taken, until all the receipts are added up. Slominski said he heard about $4,000 had been taken from the broken ATM.
The site where the ATM was found is about four miles west and two miles south of Minto, which is on U.S. Highway 81, about 30 miles northwest of Grand Forks.
It was March 8 when someone used a stolen Ford SUV to ram into a Simonson's Station Store on Gateway Drive, north of downtown Grand Forks. The thief put a chain around the ATM and dragged it through the broken window and down the street, where it was found half a block away, with the money intact, police say.
The 1998 Ford Expedition used in the heist was stolen from a nearby used car lot and was found the next day in Manvel, N.D., which is between Grand Forks and Minto.
Slominski's pickup still is missing, and finding it is key to solving the crime, Wild said. So far, no suspects have been tabbed, he said. He wouldn't comment on whether there is surveillance video of the Cenex store that might help solve the crime.
On Wednesday, police released a 13-second bit of video surveillance video tape showing the March 8 ATM theft in Grand Forks. The thief can be seen working to get the ATM out of the store. See it by clicking here .
Slominski's stolen pickup is a white 1993 Ford F-150 with a regular cab, a black-red-white stripe along the side and a black toolbox in the truck bed and silver wheels, Slominski said. It has North Dakota license plates, GKL265, he said.
He knows the pickup was at the elevator, where it belongs, until about 9 p.m. Tuesday, Slominski said. The keys are not normally left in the truck, he said.
Anyone with information on either of these crimes should call the Grand Forks police at (701) 746-2500, or the Walsh County Sheriff's Department in Grafton, N.D., at (701) 352-2041.
Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; firstname.lastname@example.org .