St. Landry Parish, LA (KPEL News) - Experienced thieves have been wreaking havoc in St. Landry Parish. The bad guys are following a plan that involves stealing vehicles to yank ATMs out of Louisiana stores.

The band of bad guys have robbed several locations they know about in St. Landry Parish. The most recent targets were hit the week of January 15, 2024-- one in Sunset and another on Hwy 182.

Stealing an ATM would be no small task and likely impossible for anyone in the general population. It's not an object you can simply lift and put in your pocket.

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz tells KATC that these robbers are professionals and are stealing more than just the ATMs.

The first step in their plan is to steal a vehicle. Guidroz says they obviously know about grand theft auto. The cars are locked and hot-wired.

If you think that's so they have transportation, think again. They use the automobile to ram into the businesses glass or metal facade to get a larger access and egress point.

Then, they hook up a chain to the car so they can yank the ATM machine out.

They transport the money machine to a place where they can open it and then abandon the vehicle.

As you can imagine, it would take a heavy-duty vehicle to accomplish the feat. The dually pictured below was used in at least one of the heists.

Stolen truck
Courtesy Jason Billeaudeau

These criminals are frustrating investigators because they are avoiding any security cameras. Sheriff Guidroz explained that his department is making progress:

We have a lot of surveillance, but they cover themselves, their hands, their faces. Covering their faces - that's old school. But technology today is a law enforcement strength. The tools we have, that's helping us. And the store owners and ATM owners are offering some really good rewards.

Businesses lose a lot of money not only because of the theft of the ATM and the money inside, but also because they must repair the damage to their buildings.

Anyone with information that will help authorities catch these criminals is asked to come forward or to call the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Department. If you'd like to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers or use the P3 app.

Sheriff Guidroz says a reward is available for information that helps solve these crimes.

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