Pownal becoming popular place to dump stolen ATMs

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POWNAL — It's possible that Pownal is becoming a popular stopover for automatic teller machine thieves anxious to crack them open and grab the cash.

Following several thefts or attempted thefts in the region this fall, ATM units like those often seen in convenience stores were found discarded — minus the cash — off gravel roads in Pownal, according to a number of town residents and local officials.

Law enforcement officials, however, have thus far provided few details concerning the incidents in Pownal and in nearby Hoosick, N.Y.

Pownal residents, most of whom asked not to be named, said discarded ATM machines were found over the past month off Skiparee and John Lee roads, along the Hoosic River in the vicinity of the North Pownal Bridge, and off Indian Massacre Road.

One resident said a second ATM also was found on Indian Massacre Road, which is a gravel way that runs parallel to Route 346 and crosses the state border into New York.

New York State Police confirmed an ATM theft in late September at the Stewart's Shop at Routes 22 and New York 7 in Hoosick, and police released a surveillance video this week of a thief yanking a file cabinet size ATM out of a store in Hoosick, with a chain apparently tied to a vehicle.

The full surveillance video clip was posted by WRGB Channel 6.

Anyone with information on that theft, which occurred early Tuesday morning, is asked to contact the Rensselaer (N.Y.) County Sheriff's Office at 518-270-0128.

Residents in Pownal said they are aware of at least one recent ATM theft or attempted theft at the Stewart's Shop on Route 7 in Pownal, but that incident could not be confirmed this week with police.

Bennington County Sheriff Chad Schmidt declined to comment specifically about the incidents, but said in an email, "All I can tell you is that there are open investigations and multiple agencies are cooperating on it. Other than that I don’t want to release many details. I would encourage business owners to have cameras installed around their parking lots and inside their businesses."

Jim Winchester, who owns a store and deli on Route 7 less than a quarter mile from the Pownal Stewart's, said Thursday that someone unsuccessfully attempted to pull an ATM from its base in his store, and surveillance photos of the person were taken.

Winchester said he later decided to have the rented ATM machine taken out of his store.

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont and VTDigger.org. @BB_therrien on Twitter.


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