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Men arrested after stealing ATM with backhoe

The two men claimed they were out searching for scrap metal and they weren't sure how the ATM ended up in the back of their truck.

By Brooks Hays
Men arrested after stealing ATM with backhoe
The giant ATM, sticking out of the back of the getaway truck, wasn't too hard for police to spot. Photo by Winter Haven Police Department

WINTER HAVEN, Fla., July 13 (UPI) -- Two men from Clewiston, Florida, are accused of using a backhoe to steal an ATM machine from a CenterState Bank location in Winter Haven.

The men successfully dislodged the ATM and loaded it into their getaway truck. But they were pulled over and apprehended a short time later while driving back to Clewiston.

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Police were clued into the incident by an automatic bank alarm that sounded just before midnight on July 10. Not long after, a warning was sent out to state and local police, calling on officers to keep an eye out for a large truck carrying an ATM. The would-be thieves were arrested in the wee hours of Saturday morning, after their Ford F-250 pickup truck was pulled over and police located the ATM in the back.

The men, Francisco Hernandez, 54, and Jesus Antonio Sanchez, 50, claimed they were out searching for scrap metal and they weren't sure how the ATM ended up in the back of their truck. The bank ATM had not been opened, police said. Detectives determined that the two stole the backhoe from a construction site near the bank.

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The two men are currently being held in Polk County Jail, booked on charges of grand theft.

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