Winter Haven men arrested for stealing ATM with backhoe, police say

According to WHPD, they took the backhoe from a near-by construction site.

Sanchez, left, Hernandez, right. Image courtesy WHPD

WINTER HAVEN, FL (WFLA) – Two men were arrested after Winter Haven police say they tried to steal a bank ATM with a backhoe.

Francisco Hernandez, 54, and Jesus Antonio Sanchez, 50, both of Clewiston, stole a backhoe from a construction site and tore down a structure that housed the ATM at the CenterState Bank on Lucerne Park Road, according to Winter Haven Police.

The alarm went off at the ATM at bout 11 p.m. Friday. When police arrived, the ATM was gone and the housing structure was destroyed. They issued a BOLO to all units for a larger vehicle in the area of Highway 27 that had an ATM in its bed.

Soon after the BOLO, a Polk Sheriff’s deputy saw a Ford in the area that looked suspicious. He pulled it over and saw the ATM. Hernandez and Sanchez told him that they had been gathering scrap metal and didn’t remember where they got their items.

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The ATM in the truck. Image courtesy WHPD
The incident aftermath. Image WHPD.
The incident aftermath. Image WHPD.
The damage done by the backhoe to the bank building.
The damage done by the backhoe to the bank building.

They were taken into custody and charged with grand theft, use of motor vehicle, property damage (first-degree felony). Hernandez also had a warrant for his arrest from Hendry County for violation of probation. Sanchez was on probation for grand theft over $20,000 as well, according to Winter Haven Police.

According to the bank representative, the ATM has not been open.

The men are in the Polk County Jail.

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