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Thieves Steal ATM From Laguna Woods Bank

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LAGUNA WOODS (CBS) —  Thieves used a tow truck rigged with chains to steal an ATM machine early Friday morning from an Orange County bank.

Federal and local authorities are searching for the two men who stole the ATM from outside Chase Bank, 24085 El Toro Road,  in Laguna Woods just before 5 a.m., sheriff’s officials said.

The robbers first tried to use a cable on the Chevy Silverado to remove the ATM, but the cable broke, Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.

They then used the truck to ram the ATM loose and they put it on the bed of the truck, covered it in a blanket, and drove off, Amormino said.

A couple of hours following the heist, sheriff’s deputies were taking a report on a vehicle stolen from the Living Green Nursery in the 25000 block of Jeronimo Road in Lake Forest when authorities were alerted that the flat-bed tow truck used in the ATM theft had been spotted next door on Cherry Avenue, Amormino said.

Investigators later determined the truck had been stolen from John’s Towing in Santa Ana, Amormino said.

Deputies suspect that once the thieves stole the ATM they drove about four miles to Lake Forest, parked the truck on Cherry and used a blow torch to open the machine and take an undisclosed amount of cash. Then the thieves hopped the fence and stole a white Chevy utility truck from the nursery, Amormino said.

The Chevy utility truck has a rack on the top, a black stripe on the hood and the license plate 8B26258, Amormino said.

“They knew exactly what they were doing,” Amormino said of the culprits, who were only described as two dark-skinned men.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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