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Thieves Steal ATM with Forklift

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. - Madison County Sheriff's Deputies said they are investigating an unusual theft, after thieves reportedly used a stolen forklift to take a local bank's ATM machine, Sunday.

"This is unreal, I come up just to get a little money to get gas and it's gone," said resident Linda Thompson.

Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork said the theft happened sometime between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. Sunday. Investigators said unknown suspects hot wired the tow motor/forklift truck from a McDonalds in Medina. The property is currently under construction.

"Thieves go to any length in order to accomplish their purpose," said Sheriff Woolfork.

Investigators said the suspect then drove the forklift nearly nine miles down the highway to the Regions ATM drive-through in Three Way. Residents said that distance is surprising and risky.

"Wow that's hard to believe he'd even make it here without being seen or something," said resident Eddie Moore.

Woolfork said the stolen forklift could reach speeds up to 40 or 50 miles per hour. Investigators said they believe the suspect was on the highway for at least 20 minutes.

"What were they thinking? I mean that's just crazy," said resident Carolyn Smith.

Woolfork said the suspect then used the forklift to rip the ATM off of the concrete slab. Investigators said once it broke free, the thieves lifted it into the back of a pickup truck and drove away. Deputies later found the forklift still running on the property.

"I'd call that professional," said resident Robert Ward. "That's a notorious gangster right there. They knew what they were doing obviously."

Although deputies recovered the stolen forklift, so far there have been no arrests. Investigators did say that the thieves made away with an undisclosed amount of money.

"I would have probably followed it to see if he dropped any," said resident Pam Webb.

The get-away vehicle is described as a two toned late '80s or '90s model Chevrolet pickup truck .

If you have any information in this case, contact the Madison County Sheriff's Department at (731) 423-6000 or call Crime Stoppers at (731) 424-8477.
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