Sentences of up to 13 years for ATM robbers

A court in Antwerp has sentence 10 Dutch nationals found guilty of having blown up 5 cash machines and of having attempted to blow up a 6th in order to steal their contents to 13 years in prison. The robberies took place at banks across Flanders. A total of 808,000 euro was stolen. The sentences given to those involved in the robberies range between a 3 years sentence, part of which suspended to 13 years in prison.     

The first ATM robbery took place on 15 May at a branch of the KBC bank in Tielt-Winge (Flemish Brabant). The gang then blew up ATMs at post offices in Buggenhout, Stekene, Sint-Laureins (all East Flanders), Boechout (Antwerp Province) and Lummen (Limburg). They first sprayed gas into the ash machines before making them explode using long cables that were connected to a taser. As well as destroying the ATM machines the explosion also severely damaged the banks and post offices in whose entrance halls they were located. In some cases they banks and post offices targeted were located in buildings that also housed residential properties. As such it is pure chance that no one was injured or even killed by the gang’s actions, the court was told.       

A total of 808,000 euro was taken in the first four robberies. Some of the bank notes taken was rendered unusable as they had been covered in ink. No money was taken in the last two robberies.   

At Sint-Laureins the robbers were also set to blow up the ATM, but were forced to flee after the police arrived. At Stekene they blew up the cash machine, but were unable to get their hands on any money.