SCARBOROUGH — The theft of an automated teller machine on Sunday night at a Mussey Road convenience store played out like the plot line for a 2009 version of Woody Allen’s 1969 movie, “Take the Money and Run.”
But instead of the inept Allen getting his hand caught in the gumball machine, the alleged thief in the modern version got the ATM caught in the doorway while trying to tow it out using a stolen 2010 Ford F-250 pickup truck.
Rather than give up, Brian S. Andrews, 31, of Old Orchard Beach, allegedly went back inside the store he’d broken into and adjusted the machine he’d wrapped in chains, before trying again. Using the truck, which was attached to the other end of those chains, he allegedly yanked the machine out of the store, leaving a 2-foot by 5-foot hole in the wall and ripping the two entryway doors off the building, according to Peter Walsh, owner of Eight Corners Market.
Once the ATM was freed, Police Department Sgt. John O’Malley said, the alleged thief somehow managed to lift the 300-pound machine onto the back of the truck before driving off with the chain dangling off the back.
Police received an alarm just before 11 p.m. on Nov. 29, as well as a call from a witness who heard, but did not see, the crime take place, O’Malley said. As one officer inspected the crime scene, another spotted the truck driving down Gorham Road.
Although the driver initially stopped when police pulled him over, once the officer left his cruiser, the driver backed the truck into the car, narrowly missing the officer, before fleeing the scene at high speed, with the trailing chains sparking behind him. Police said the cruiser received $3,500 worth of damage.
Officers pursued the vehicle for about four miles down Black Point Road, and when it lost control and crashed into a guardrail, the suspect fled on foot. Officers eventually apprehended him among the rocks on the beach at Prout’s Neck.
Since the theft, officers have experimented with trying to lift the ATM into a truck, O’Malley said. Though one officer did manage to lean it against the bed and tip it in, O’Malley said they aren’t ruling out an accomplice in the theft.
“That part is still under investigation,” he said. “It is entirely possible someone was helping him.”
When Walsh arrived at his store about 11 p.m. that night, he said he found it in terrible shape.
“It was just like a hurricane went through here,” he said. “Me and Chris Johnson cleaned everything up, swept up the glass, then boarded it up with plywood. Rocky Risbara of Risbara Brothers and John Harmon’s glass repair got me up and running later that day.”
Walsh went home around 2:30 a.m. Monday and was back at his store by 4:30 that morning to open up.
The $18,000 in estimated damage to the store, which has been in his family since 1982, will be covered by insurance, Walsh said. He expected to have another ATM in place by Friday.
Walsh owned the 2-year-old, $4,000 machine, which he said was completely demolished by its trip through the building.
Police said the pickup truck, valued at $52,000, was stolen from a car lot in Auburn.
Andrews was arrested and charged with burglary, theft, aggravated assault, aggravated criminal mischief, eluding and refusing to submit to arrest. As of Wednesday morning, he was still being held at the Cumberland County Jail on $10,000 cash bail. Arraignment was scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.