BISHOP, Texas — Around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, law enforcement and fire crews were called to the PNC Bank on US Hwy. 77 in Bishop for an ATM on fire.
“Officers found significant damage to the ATM, and it was apparent this wasn’t an accidental fire,” said Bishop PD chief Edward Day.
Surveillance video from the bank shows three men pulling up to the ATM in a pickup truck and attempting to break into the machine.
“It looked like a grinder and some kind of torch to try to get entry to the machine,” Day said. “While doing so, it appears they started the machine on fire. Once the fire began they fled.”
The suspects did not retrieve any money from the machine, but did cause approximately $100,000 in damage to it, he said. The money inside, around $80,000, was not damaged in the fire.
The truck the suspects used was reported stolen in Corpus Christi. The vehicle was recovered in Duval County, but it was in flames when it was located.
Day believes the group of men who attempted the break into the ATM are the same who stole $4,000 from an ATM located in Snappy's Convenience Store in Bishop on May 10.
“Based on the pattern, and the evidence, we do suspect these are connected,” he said.
In addition to the two incidents in Bishop, two similar events in the Coastal Bend may be connected to the same suspects.
“Through our investigation, we found there’s been other ATMs hit throughout the Coastal Bend," Day said. "We’re working with state and federal partners to try to investigate this."
On June 1, suspects used a grinder to break into an ATM early in the morning in Banquete. Nueces County Sheriff JC Hooper said the suspects took money out of the machine, and believes the incident is related to the two in Bishop.
Also, around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, an ATM at the Wells Fargo located at 4100 SPID in Corpus Christi was damaged. Day believes the suspects attempted to break in to that ATM before traveling to Bishop.
“The suspects seem to be two to three males at each location; it looks like they use different vehicles each time," he said. "Some of those have been confirmed to be stolen vehicles. The pattern is very similar, and we do think there seems to be a connection.”
Day wants anyone with information on any of the events above to contact Bishop PD at (361) 584-2443. Day added if you see something suspicious, contact your local law enforcement agency, and you may help prevent another similar incident from happening in the Coastal Bend.
“It may be nothing, but it may be something, and you may be able to stop a crime from occurring,” he said.