An ATM crime spree has spanned two months and two boroughs, as a pair of thieves at the center of the operation aren't just taking the cash — they're stealing the entire cash machines themselves.
The dastardly duo have hit at least five different businesses across Brooklyn and Queens, targeted shops that are closed.
"They came in, they went straight to the atm machine, yanked it, all the wires came out," said Pantelis Sideris, the manager of the Ominia Cafe on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge. The shop doesn't close until 1 a.m., but less than a month ago, the thieves waited for two hours to break in and steal the machine.
In surveillance images provided by police, the pair came equipped with a cloth to cover the ATM, and then wheel it out to a waiting Chrysler minivan, which has been used in most cases.
"They came equipped with a dolly a hand truck and something to cover it," Sideris said. "He was a professional, let's put it that way, and he probably had scoped out the place."
Sideris said one the the thieves also tried to break into the cash register.
"Yeah, he did a lot of damage in the store," the manager said. "Damaged a couple of doors and rummaged through the whole place."
So far, police said the burglars have hit five businesses since February, stealing nearly $20,000 in all.
"It’s happening a lot, it’s happening a lot. It even happened in Jersey the other day," said Sideris, referring to a wild bank robbery in South Brunswick on Tuesday.
In that instance, a damaged ATM and $40,000 in cash were left behind in a Chase bank parking lot after police say “professional thieves” pulled the machine off its cement base.
They believe it took only 90 seconds.
Police said that in March, the pair in the NYC crime spree took $8,200 from a Queens market. At the Omonia Cafe, police said the thieves only made off with $3,500 — but it's enough to hurt a business trying to recover from the pandemic.
"It’s tough you know, it’s tough," Sideris said. "We have to pay somebody stay the extra six hours nobody’s here overnight."
Sideris believes these guys are no strangers to crime, and hopes they’re caught and prosecuted.
"Get them off the street and keep them off the street. So they don’t come back and do it again," he said.