A story in the Albuquerque Journal several years ago focused on an unusual attempt to steal a stand-alone ATM machine on the city’s west side. A man managed to hot wire a front end loader from a nearby construction site, drive it to the location of the ATM and then proceed to pluck it up from its anchoring bolts with the bucket of the vehicle. The now liberated ATM was scooped up in the bucket and headed for freedom.
Cops got wind of the scheme when someone reported a front end loader with something odd dangling out of the bucket and wobbling down a nearby street. The perp was arrested before he could smash open the cash dispenser and escape with the loot.
Well, someone in Lincoln, NE, has outdone the Albuquerque front-end loader incident.
According to a story this week in the Omaha World-Herald, a man near a construction site fell and injured his leg. A friend who was with him spotted an unattended front-end loader, placed his injured friend in the vehicle’s bucket, hot wired the machine and drove him a mile to the nearest hospital. He parked the lumbering unit in the ambulance bay while medical attendants unloaded the bucket’s “load” and took the injured man to the emergency room. Thinking he might get accolades for saving his friend, the driver of the front end-loader was instead arrested for a variety of offenses.
Charges included suspicion of felony theft by unlawfully taking a $75,000 vehicle, felony DWI, felony driving during revocation, having an open alcohol container in a vehicle and possession of 3.5 grams of marijuana. Police said the man blew a .184 blood alcohol test — more than twice the legal limit — when he was arrested. They also discovered his driver’s license had been revoked 15 years earlier — when he was only 17 — for DWI.
My recommendation to criminals is to not use a front end loader for your nefarious activities. They are just a little bit too obtuse. A faded white and battered 2004 Chevy pickup might be a little more stealthy.