Thieves target multiple local businesses in brazen ATM thefts

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A handful of local businesses have recently been the target of brazen ATM thefts where the thieves don’t care who is watching.

Honolulu police say thieves tried to steal the ATM right in front of Rainbow Drive-In on Kapahulu Avenue, not once, but twice this month. Police say on Nov. 8, thieves attempted to tow away the machine outside of the eatery then again on Nov. 18.

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“It’s kind of it’s surreal to see your place of business, and people just walking up and destroying property and trying to basically tow away an ATM is just surreal,” said Chris Iwamura, CEO of Rainbow Drive-In.

Iwamura says the ATM was bolted down. That is something the restaurant did after thieves stole their ATM last year. However, to happen again, back to back, is shocking.

“We actually had employees on site at the time,” Iwamura said. “I’m glad that the doors are locked, and they’re inside safe, but it’s scary for them. I just get a call from them at 4 a.m. in the morning just saying somebody just tried to break into the ATM again.”

Rainbow Drive-In isn’t the only business being targeted. On Nov. 9, police say a man used a metal object to shatter an ATM screen in Waipahu. On Nov. 8, thieves got away with an ATM at Sorabol restaurant on Keaaumoku Street. Surveillance video showed them using an ax to break it open and they then attached on the ATM and ripped it off the ground.

“Fortunately, there was a witness there who had saw this and had overheard some loud noises and was able to call 911,” said Sgt. Chris Kim of Honolulu CrimeStoppers. “Police just got there, but the suspect had already fled.”

Police have received tips, but no arrests have been made in that case.

These ATM thefts are what police call a crime of opportunity.

“A lot of these businesses we’re seeing is a lot of restaurants,” said Sgt. Kim. ” lot of stores that utilize these small compact ATMs, and they’re actually as we’re seeing, not too difficult to steal.”

The advice for businesses is to make it difficult for these thieves.

“Put up some barricades or something to kind of block it from being easily taken or stolen,” Sgt. Kim said. “Once again, what really helps is if you’re able to invest in any type of security cameras and have it pointed towards the ATM in any entry or exit points.”

For Rainbow Drive-In, the company is even considering hiring security.

“It’s really shocking,” Iwamura said. “I mean, even you see the mainland. It’s happening all over the place too. So to all the small business owners out there, just make sure you and your staff are safe. Protect your business as best you can.”

Interested in jewelry heists gone wrong, other strange news? Check out Weird News

Anyone who has information about any of these cases should call Honolulu CrimeStoppers 808-955-8300.

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