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    Bpost takes action to combat ATM crackers


    Following last week’s decision by banks to close in-branch ATMs at night to prevent safe-crackers who blow up cash machines to get at the contents, the thieves have now turned their attention to cash machines run by the Bpost bank. And Bpost has announced new measures. The decision comes after two attacks on cash machines on Wednesday night, in Lommel and Lummen, both in Limburg province. Bpost was reluctant to give details of the measures to be taken, so as not to inform the thieves via the press, but said it would involve cutting the amount of cash stocked in machines overnight, as well as measures to restrict access.

    “We will be extending the existing action plan and pushing forward with a number of new measures,” a spokesperson said.

    Last week saw a meeting involving the banking sector, the home affairs ministry, police and justice system to consider the recent wave of ATM-cracking and preventive measures that can be taken.

    While the two attacks in Limburg, which took place at the same time, appear to be the work of one gang, experts have said that the recent peak in ATM robberies – seven in the last month – are probably not the work of a single gang. Previous attacks have taken place in Limburg, East Flanders, Flemish Brabant and Antwerp province, with one outlier in Seneffe in Hainaut. Experts consider the latter to be a copycat action, after the method used by the thieves was revealed in the press.

    The remainder of the robberies, meanwhile, suggest the activities of a loose network of thieves who share the methodology, but are not necessarily linked. That suggests solving the case may be more difficult: even if one group could be traced somehow, it would not necessarily lead to the exposure of others.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times