Thieves are finding ways to smash and steal ATMs from area businesses. That's after the latest theft early Tuesday at an Annawan gas station.
This marks at least the sixth incident in recent months involving ATMs. Other thefts or attempts took place in Sterling, Cordova and Manlius.
A smashed storefront leads the way to the Annawan Shell Express.
"I didn't know they got robbed," said clerk Linda Thompson.
It's all quite shocking to Thompson. A small sign is all that's left of its ATMs.
"Somebody's going to get killed is what's going to happen," she said. "Somebody's going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Culprits used a four-wheeler to crash through the front doors just after 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday. They managed to drag out the ATM and vanish in a matter of minutes. They got away with an undisclosed amount of cash.
"I work nights," Thompson said. "I know what it's like. Yes, I do get very nervous about it because you just don't know."
It's the latest in a string of ATM thefts across the region. Sterling businesses experienced two thefts during one May weekend. Police recently recovered a stolen Gator vehicle that they believe was used in the crimes.
"Somebody had to have planned it out and thought about it," said Sterling Police Detective Mike Henry. "They definitely had some knowledge on how they were going to get it out of here. I don't think it was a spur of the moment thing."
Several surveillance cameras could reveal more clues. Authorities are advising stores with ATM machines to be extra cautious.
"People are hurting for money," Thompson said. "They say it's getting better, and it's not."
To report information about the Annawan case, contact Annawan Police at (309) 935-6250.
"I hope they catch them," concluded clerk Patty Vandegenachte.