Man nabbed trying to dig for money with mechanical shovel

The China Post staff

A man who blatantly used a giant mechanical shovel in an attempt to steal cash from an automated teller machine (ATM) in Tainan was arrested after the loud noise woke up people from deep sleep and the whole process was recorded by a surveillance camera. Police said this is a rather weird way of digging money from ATM with a huge mechanical shovel — which is commonly called “weird hand” in Taiwan. They said Chen Ji-jer, 40, started digging at the ATM of a post office on Fulien Road in Tainan City, southern Taiwan, early yesterday morning.

Chen was able to dig out two steel box under the ATM and deformed the ATM but couldn’t get the cash. When he stopped shoveling and made a close inspection of the ATM, his face was grabbed by the monitoring security camera. Residents of the same building were awakened at 4:04 a.m. by the noise and dialed “119”. Police said they also received an alert from the security monitoring system connected with the post office, which also functions as a bank branch. Chen managed to escape as he strategically positioned the mechanical shovel and a car as roadblocks to obstruct police cars. Yet residents and policemen who rushed to the scene got the license plate number of his getaway car. With the aid of the video tape, police arrested Chen at his apartment at around 8 a.m.

Chen, who has a record of possessing drugs, said he tried the novel and audacious way because he is short for cash. In addition to targeting more vulnerable individual customers who withdraw cash from banks, robbers in Taiwan like cracking ATMs. Just last Friday two armed robbers made a daring raid by opening fire at two security guards in broad daylight to make away with NT$5 million from an ATM of Hua Nan Commercial Bank at Yangmei in Taoyuan County. The two fired on the guard before they started refilling the ATM with cash in bags. After hurting the guard, the duo escaped with bags of cash at around 10 a.m. Police are still investigating the case, since the same amount of NT$5 million was robbed from the same ATM during the same cash-refilling process in June last year.

Another coincidence was the two heists took place from the same security firm that was retained to guard the cash delivery van and refill the ATM.