Authorities search for ATM burglars who smash store fronts

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by Malini Basu / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on June 6, 2013 at 5:59 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 7 at 4:53 AM

HOUSTON — Authorities are searching for bold thieves who drove a pickup through the front of a Shell gas station’s convenience store in east Houston.

Surveillance video shows the thieves driving the truck into the store, located in the 6700 block of Lyons Avenue, and taking cash from the demolished ATM inside. They then left the truck behind and fled the scene on foot.

“The robbers can do anything,” Asif Maknojia, a store employee, said. “This is very shocking the people do like this.”

The store’s surveillance cameras and gates did not deter the criminals, who have left employees scared.

“After we leave, we don’t know if our business is protected or not,” Maknojia said. “We work hard to protect ourselves, too.”

It is a crime that has happened all too often. The same thing occurred to the Exxon around the corner about two weeks ago.

Then early Wednesday morning, the Chevron gas station about a mile away was also hit. Cameras inside that store show the robbers driving right into the business and then loading up the ATM. The store’s clerk, who was only been in the U.S. for two months, could not help but cower behind the counter, while the robbers took what they wanted.

“The night guy called us, and my husband told him to stay calm and he’s on the way,” said Zahida Khan, who owns the Chevron.

Police are trying to figure out if these are all connected, while store owners are considering new ways to protect their business.

“We keep a trigger under here, so if anything happens, we have our cameras and I have a little something underneath the counter if something happens,” Monica Chavez, an employee, said.

Police suspect that the  trucks used in the robberies are stolen.

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