- German and Dutch police have arrested nine people linked to a gang that blew up ATMs.
- Europol said one suspect accidentally blew himself up while filming a tutorial at an illegal “training center.”
- The agency said that such attacks on ATMs were a “growing concern” in Europe.
Police in the Netherlands and Germany have broken up a criminal gang that filmed tutorials on how to bomb ATMs after one of its members accidentally blew himself up, Europe’s crime agency Europol said on Thursday.
The agency said that one suspect was killed and one badly injured after a test explosion at an illegal “training center” in Utrecht in the Netherlands went awry in September 2020.
The two suspects had been ordering different models of ATM machines and recording videos about how to most effectively blow them up.
“The criminals were making video tutorials which were given in-person to other criminals,” a Europol spokesperson told The Guardian.
“The main suspect, a 29-year-old, blew himself up when filming a tutorial video. His accomplice, a 24-year-old, was seriously injured and taken into custody.”
This week Europol said that it had concluded an 18-month long joint cross-border investigation into the group with Dutch and German authorities, which culminated in nine arrests.
The investigation linked the gang with 15 ATM attacks in Germany, which had caused losses totaling approximately €2,150,000 (nearly $2.5 million dollars).
Europol said it began investigating the gang after authorities in Osnabruck, Germany, reported suspicious orders of ATMs from a German company, which led them to the training center in Utrecht.
The agency said that attacks on ATMs were a “growing concern” in Europe as they often put local residents’ and bystanders’ lives in danger.
Some 414 ATMs were blown up across Germany in 2020, an increase of 19% compared to the previous year, the Associated Press reported.
German authorities believe about two-thirds of the suspects came from the Netherlands, after increased security measures imposed by Dutch banks, AP said.
“The cross-border investigation worked brilliantly,” Osnabrueck police chief Michael Massmann told AP. “This is a big blow against the international scene that’s blowing up ATMs and their criminal activities.”