ATM blown up in village near to the Dutch border

Another cash machine has been blown up by robbers hoping to take its contents. This time an ATM was targeted at a branch of the Argenta Savings Bank at Essen in the north of Antwerp Province. An Argenta spokeswoman has told VRT News that the robbers made off empty-handed. Meanwhile, the banking industry federation Febelfin has expressed its concern about what it says is a growing number of cash machine robberies in which robbers blow up the machines.      

Speaking on Friday morning, Patrick De Smedt of the Grens Local Police Services that covers Essen told VRT News that “A local resident heard a loud bang during the night about 2am”.

“She alerted us and it transpired that an ATM had been attacked on the Spijker in Essen. The cash machine had been blown up. The outside of the bank has sustained damage. There is now a large hole in the wall where the cash machine was. The bomb disposal service DOVO will check the condition of the building to make sure that there is no danger of it collapsing”.   

Argenta’s Christine Vermylen told VRT News "No one was injured and the bank will probably be able to re-open next week”.

The robbers fled and are currently still on the run.

Thursday night’s incident was the second such incident this week. On Tuesday night an ATM was blown up at a branch of BNP Paribas Fortis at Stabroek, 20km from Essen and also on the Dutch border. It is as yet unclear whether the two incidents are connected. The ATM at the Essen branch of Argenta was blown up once before 5 years ago.

However, it is unlikely that this is connected to Thursday evening’s attempted robbery.