Tech

Robbers steal €150,000 from an ATM using a miniature drone

A team of robbers managed to steal €150,000 from an ATM in Reims. More than the sum, it is the modus operandi used that worries and challenges the authorities. Indeed, the thieves used a mini-drone. Explanations.

Credits: Unsplash

Over the years, drones have become more popular and these devices are now used in many fields. Amazon, for example, launched Prime Air, its drone delivery service in the United States, while UPS used drones during the pandemic to deliver Covid vaccines.

The army is also in demand for this kind of technology. In early 2021, Parrot delivered 300 micro-drones to the French army, which intends to use them for reconnaissance and intelligence missions. However, French burglars have found another use for these devices.

As reported by our colleagues from sunday newspapera group of robbers succeeded to steal no less than €150,000 from an ATM (DAB) of a Reims savings bank using a… miniature drone!

A mysterious theft, at first sight

The facts date back to May 2, 2022, the date on which the police noted the absence of tens of thousands of euros in the relay safe located in the technical room adjoining the ATM. As a reminder, the relay box allows cash couriers to deposit money intended for the distributor.

For the authorities, the flight is a mystery at first sight : the DAB is in perfect condition and does not show any degradation. Same observation for the door of the technical room, which was not forced. However and after careful examination of the scene, the police notice that an air vent in the room has been vandalized. However, the conduit is tiny and it is impossible for a human to have managed to pass through it.

The investigators then decided to consult the tapes of the video surveillance cameras. This is where they discover the pot of roses. The thieves used a mini-drone to break into the room through the ventilation. They then used the device to press a push button that triggers the opening of the technical room from the inside.

The robbers use a mini-drone to access the money

Several strangers then entered this room and managed to open this relay box by dialing a secret code, known only to the cash couriers in charge of supplying the distributors”. told a source close to the investigation to the JDD.

In total, the operation will only have required about ten minutes with everything broken. Before sending the drone, the thieves obviously slid a telescopic pole equipped with a mirror in the conduit to locate the button.

For the authorities, this unprecedented modus operandi raises serious concerns. If drones have often been used to drop drugs or smartphones in prison, monitor a deal zone in the event of the arrival of law enforcement or deliver narcotics to individuals, “the use of a mini-drone for such money is totally unprecedented”, they say in high police circles.

After several weeks of investigation, four suspects were arrested, including a former employee in charge of distributor maintenance. It was he who would have given the code to the relay box to the other burglars. The offenders were indicted over the summer and remanded in custody.

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