Pair sought in North Bay ATM theft

SAN RAFAEL (KTVU) -- Police were searching Monday for two suspects who drove away with an automated teller machine, a heist in Marin County that was caught on video.

The theft happened at the Marin Airporter, a longtime local business that provides transportation to San Francisco International Airport. The incident occurred at the company's San Rafael terminal on Anderson Drive, near San Quentin Prison.

Buses arrive and depart from the location around the clock except for a three-hour gap between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Authorities said the burglars struck about 2:30 a.m. when there is no bus traffic.

"Wow, they really planned it out" passenger Bill Richardson said while surveying the damage to the building.

Automatic sliding glass doors are gone after the suspects rammed it and officials have temporarily patched the damage with plywood. Metal stairs, porch and railing are battered and bent.

"That's unbelievable and surprising for Marin County," Richardson said.

Surveillance video shows a newer model white SUV pulling up before a passenger exits the vehicle. He breaks the glass to get in, and runs a rope or cable through the lobby before attaching it to the ATM, which is out of the camera's view.

Then he's barely out of the room, and the machine comes flying after him, pulled by the waiting vehicle. Once the machine has been removed from the building, the two suspects load it in the SUV.

"It probably weighs between 200-300 pounds," San Rafael Police Cpl. Justin Graham said.

Officers were summoned by an alarm but the entire heist took 3 minutes. Police found the wrecked room and and some pieces off the ATM, which is owned and operated by an independent company.

"It appears somebody knew it was in there and put in a lot of work getting it out," Graham said. "And just based on the amount of damage to the building, they were determined."

The ATM was found by a worker at a Richmond business park around noon Monday. The machine had been dumped in the parking lot after it was cut open and emptied of its cash.

"I'm shocked because you just wouldn't expect something like that," customer Bradley Mudd said.

He said he uses the on-site ATM to obtain the $22 fare for the trip to the airport.

Managers at Airporter said they only accept cash because those transactions are faster than those involving credit cards.

"It's convenient to have the ATM in there, because truthfully, I rarely carry cash with me anymore," Mudd said.

Police hope someone knows the vehicle, which may have rear-end damage from dragging the ATM.

Authorities said the man may also be recognizable by the tan hooded sweatshirt he was wearing because it had distinctive white graphics on it that was possibly a skull design.

At nearby West Bay Bavarian, which sells and services BMW vehicles, two men in a white Lexus SUV were reported Sunday night, tampering with a trailer.

They fled before police arrived, but police wonder if they might have been eyeing the trailer as a way to haul away a stolen ATM.

By KTVU reporter Debora Villalon.