Burglars steal ATM from South Side restaurant

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two burglars broke into Far South Side restaurant RJ Fish & Chicken and stole the ATM inside Friday morning, Chicago police said.

Internal surveillance cameras captured someone jiggling the locks around 12:30 a.m. Friday.

"I didn't recognize anybody suspicious but they knew what they are doing," said Enrique Rodriguez, an employee who had just left for the night.

About two hours later, around 2:30 a.m., a dark minivan pulled up outside the storefront in the 1900-block of East 95th Street, and the same person who rigged the locks got out, opened the door and walked into the shop.

He was armed with what appears to be a long nylon strap which he wrapped around the ATM, secured, and then fled out the front door. Back outside, he secured the strap to the minivan's trunk. He waved at the driver of the van, stepped back inside and moments later the ATM came flying through the entire glass storefront.

The thief was right in the path of the flying ATM and was struck, but he still hobbled out to load it into the van.

"it was planned, too," Rodriguez said. "Had to be somebody like a familiar customer that came and had planning."

When Rodriguez and police arrived, the cash machine was long gone.

"Glass everywhere, door ripped out, no ATM machine," Rodriguez lamented.

"It feels bad," said Mary Lathan, neighborhood resident. "It's terrible. Makes a bad name for all of us. It's hard to trust people... now do you want to get another ATM and the same thing happen?"

Area South detectives are investigating.
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