France ATM bandits use forks to nab millions
Investigators were shocked by the simplicity and ingenuity of the countrywide rash of ATM heists: The gang managed to make the thefts by jamming a fork into the machines' cash dispensers, exploiting a previously unknown security flaw.
The mass robberies were discovered when dozens of fake ATM withdrawals, mainly from Caisse d'Epargne machines, were caught on camera.
The Caisse d'Epargne group, which includes the Natixis bank, filed a case with the police in early August after noticing balance discrepancies in many of their ATMs. After examining CCTV footage from the machines, French law enforcement concluded that the gang used prepaid bank cards to conduct the thefts.
“After making one transaction with their bank cards they insert a small fork with the teeth bent back into the cash distributor,” police said to Le Parisien. “Then the thieves attempt a much bigger second withdrawal, which they cancel before the transaction is finish. By then the cash is prepared in the distributor, which they pull out with the help of the fork.”
French police have made four arrests in connection with the thefts, all of whom are thought to be Romanian nationals. Police are searching for another dozen gang members believed to be involved in the crimes.
The bandits are believed to have begun operating in Belgium at the start of the summer. The banks are now scrambling to develop methods to enhance ATM security.