HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Houston police say five hotel ATM’s have been targeted in the past six days. The hotel ATM thefts started on December 9.
No one has been caught, but today police released pictures from the theft that occurred at the Frontier Inn on December 11. These are the first images police are releasing of the believed criminals behind at least five ATM thefts at Houston hotels in the last six days.
“I would advise the hotels to be on high alert,” says Lt. Cathy Richards with the Houston Police Department.
The crime is quick – no longer than two to three minutes, officials say. The group of four to eight masked bandits walk in, head to the ATM and carry it out. No weapons had been shown until the most recent robbery early on Thursday at the Marriott near Bush Airport where one of the suspects displayed a machete when employees began questioning them.
“Just be a really good witness. Cooperate. Don’t do anything that would cause you to get hurt,” says Lt. Richards.
Their target — hotels. A map showing the actual locations appears random, but the time of night is not. All the thefts happen overnight when the lobby seems least busy. All the thefts involve an ATM that is not bolted or secured.
“They can target these hotels in the middle of the night when there is low visibility,” says Lt. Richards.
Police are hesitant identifying a specific vehicle — serving as a getaway — since they believe different cars have been used during this crime spree.
“We are definitely on high alert for that same scenario of looking for suspects with an ATM machine. Keeping an eye out. Driving by the hotels on a more regular basis, yes,” says Lt. Richards.
The good news — no one has been injured yet. Police are asking for your help, though. If you know any information call the Houston Police robbery division or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 713.222.TIPS.