Brazen ATM robbery caught on camera in Methuen

METHUEN, Mass. -- Thieves smashed through a Methuen store early Wednesday morning and stole an ATM in a crime similar to others committed over the past few years.

Surveillance video from the Walgreens on Jackson Street shows a minivan, which police say was likely stolen, back into the front doors shortly after 3 a.m., before three people jump out and run inside, securing the ATM with chains attached to the vehicle. But as the minivan accelerates, the chain breaks loose and the machine doesn’t budge.

Minutes later, they return with an SUV, backing nearly the entire car into the building and knocking over the machine. Three people struggle to handle the ATM, finally dragging it to the vehicle and loading it inside before speeding away.

Police recovered the minivan in Lawrence. The ATM was inside and both had been burned.

Methuen police say the crime is similar to other thefts of ATMs and safes not only in the city but also in other neighboring communities throughout the Merrimack Valley.

Police believe the same group of criminals is responsible for many of the similar thefts and attempts.

Boston 25 News covered a similar theft attempt at a Sunoco 2.5 miles away just over year before Wednesday’s crime. Surveillance video shows a vehicle back through the window while the store is open and a clerk is inside. The thieves tried to secure the ATM with chains and take off, but only the door of the machine ripped off. The machine itself didn’t move, and the money remained locked inside.

Police ask anyone with information to contact them. Tips can be anonymous.