The Hague, 2 February 2023
With the support of Eurojust, the German and Dutch authorities have taken action against an organised crime group (OCG) suspected of having blown up numerous Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in Germany since 2021. In Bavaria alone, it concerned 31 explosions with a total haul of about EUR 3.4 million, causing damage estimated at approximately EUR 4 million. Nine suspects were arrested during a joint action day also supported by the Belgian authorities. They are in preliminary custody pending extradition. Fifteen places were searched in the Netherlands and one in Belgium.
The seizures included four kilos of explosives, which had already been prepared for further attacks in nine explosive packages, one rapid vehicle, which was used to commit the crimes, several phones, cash, tasers, gloves, crowbars, sledgehammers, navigation equipment, a digital radio scanner and valuables such as expensive watches and handbags.
In total, more than 270 members of the police and judiciary, as well as the Dutch defence explosives ordnance disposal service, were involved in the action day.
The perpetrators allegedly travelled from the Netherlands to the German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg to blast open teller machines. They used crowbars to open the doors and solid explosives to destroy the machines. After stealing the cash inside, they escaped in cars.
The OCG was highly organised, with a clear division of roles ranging from preparing explosives to dealing with logistics, driving or blowing up the ATMs at the locations. The OCG was able to steal up to EUR 250 000 per attack.
The case was opened at Eurojust by the German authorities in May 2022. Two coordination meetings were hosted by the Agency to facilitate judicial cooperation and the preparation of the joint action day.
The following authorities took part in this investigation:
· Germany: Public Prosecution Office of Bamberg, State Criminal Police Office of Bavaria and State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Württemberg
· The Netherlands: Public Prosecution Office Midden-Nederland, Specialized ATM Blastings Team of the Police Midden-Nederland (Dienst Regionale Recherche), Police Limburg
· Belgium: Public Prosecution Office Limburg, investigative judge, Federal Judicial Police of Limburg, Local Police zone Maasland