UPDATE: Van with stolen ATM found; money, suspects missingPosted: Updated:
UPDATE JAN. 22:
The following is a press release from the El Mirage Police Department:
EL MIRAGE -- On January 21, 2009 at approximately 5:20 p.m. a concerned citizen called authorities to report a parked vehicle that she felt looked out of place. She first noticed the vehicle around 7:00 a.m. but didn't give it much thought. Later that afternoon she saw that the vehicle was still there and called it in. The unoccupied white Ford van was backed in on an empty lot approximately 100 yards south of Broadway Road on the west side of 91st Avenue in a sparsely populated, unincorporated area of the southwest Valley.
A sheriff's deputy arrived on the scene and noted that the ignition was punched and observed an ATM machine in the back of the van. A connection was made to the incident that occurred earlier in the day at the Walgreens in El Mirage and investigators from the El Mirage Police Department responded to the scene.
The California plates on the van are registered to a different vehicle. El Mirage investigators ran the vehicle's VIN number and determined the vehicle was a reported stolen vehicle out of Ontario, California. It appeared that the ATM machine had been emptied. Investigators seized the vehicle as evidence and towed it to an El Mirage police facility where a Crime Scene Technician is processing the vehicle for evidence. This case is still under investigation.
The identities of the suspects involved in this incident are still unknown and the El Mirage Police Department is asking for the public's help. Silent Witness has now offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the persons responsible for this crime. Anyone with information is encouraged to call 480-W.I.T.N.E.S.S. or 1-800-343-T.I.P.S. Callers may remain anonymous.
EL MIRAGE -- Thieves smashed the doors off an El Mirage Walgreens and stole an ATM early Wednesday morning.
It happened shortly before 3 a.m., at the store at Cactus and El Mirage roads.
When El MIrage officers arrived on the scene after receiving an alarm call, they found doors of the Walgreens smashed and the Chase ATM was missing.
The store manager provided police with the store's security video, which shows a large white Ford van circling the parking lot and dropping off two people. The van then backed into the store's front doors, destroying them.
The video shows two more people getting out of the back of the van.
Police said the two people outside joined the two inside and all four tried to pry the ATM loose. The machine, however, was anchored to the floor.
At the point, the van backed into the ATM, knocking it loose.
The suspects then loaded the ATM into the back of the van, and then got in themselves before fleeing the scene.
Police said all of the suspects wore ski-type masks covering their faces and dark coats, some with hoods. The suspects also appeared to be wearing gloves.
One of the suspects appeared to be wearing a splint on his finger.
It's not yet known how much money was in the ATM.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the El Mirage Police Department at 623-433-9500.
Google map of the area>